Big inning dooms West Bladen, 10-5

By: W. Curt Vincent -

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. — Fourteen batters. Seven hits. Two walks. Two errors. One wild pitch. Nine runs.

That was the difference in Monday’s game, as South Carolina used the big third inning and hung on to end West Bladen’s eight-game winning streak and knock them into the consolation bracket of the Dixie Pre-Majors World Series, 10-5.

The Knights got on the board first with a run in the top of the second inning when Trent West reached on an error and, after stealing second base, he came home on a one-out single by Donald McCullum. Ray Jones followed with a single and Ian Sykes walked with two outs to load the bases, but the threat fizzled there.

After West Bladen went quietly in the top of the third, South Carolina went on the offensive and took advantage of West Bladen miscues to take a 9-1 lead.

Chandler Lennon opened the top of the fourth frame with a long triple and scored on a groundout by McCullum, but nothing else materialized for the Knights and the deficit stood at 9-2.

After a scoreless fifth inning, West Bladen manufactured another run in the sixth when Lennon led off with a double down the left field line and a balk sent him to third. After a short fly out, Jones rapped an RBI single to cut the deficit to 9-3.

South Carolina tacked on a run in the bottom of the sixth to take a 10-3 edge.

In the top of the seventh, the Knights got the rally caps going and made things interesting.

Caleb Sholar opened the inning by reaching on South Carolina’s fifth error of the game and Seth Britt was hit by a pitch. A fielder’s choice erased Sholar and a strikeout out West Bladen down to its last out. But Lennon stroked a single to right-center that scored Britt and McCullum laced an RBI single that scored Bowen and cut the South Carolina lead to 10-5.

But the rally ended there.

Hunt took the loss on the bump for the Knights. He went 2.1 innings and gave up nine runs, eight earned, along with seven hits and five walks. He fanned two. Jarrett Williams relieved and shut South Carolina down — going 3.2 innings and giving up one unearned run on two walks and no hits.

At the plate, Lennon was 3-for-4 with a double, triple and RBI; McCullum was 2-for-4 with two RBI; Ray Jones was 2-for-3 with an RBI; and Britt was 1-for-3 with a stolen base.

West Bladen, now 18-6 and 2-1, will play at 8 p.m. today in an elimination game.

W. Curt Vincent