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ELIZABETHTOWN – Senior Jake Futrell pitched a 2-hitter and struck out 7 batters in 5 innings as East Bladen closed out an 11-1 Waccamaw Conference mercy rule victory with a 7-run 5th inning Tuesday night.

Coach Grant Pait’s Eagles improved to 6-2 in Waccamaw play and evened their overall mark at 8-8. East Bladen increased their lead over West Columbus and East Columbus for the league’s top 1A playoff spot to 3 games. East Bladen will travel to West Columbus (2-4, 6-9) for a return match Thursday night.

The Vikings tallied their only run in the 1st inning. Drake Grainger walked, Brennan Little was hit by a pitch, and Ryder Haynes cracked a 2-out single to centerfield that scored Grainger.

The Eagles rallied with 3 runs in the 2nd inning. Freshman Jayce Hatcher walked and raced home when senior Lee Barnes crushed a triple to left field. Two outs later Cole Butler walked, and senior D. A. Smith spanked a single to the right side that scored Barnes with the go-ahead run. Futrell smacked a single to center that scored Butler and upped the count to 3-1.

Senior Parker Greene walked to start the Eagle 3rd inning and his courtesy runner, Aiden Hargrove, stole 2nd base. Barnes smacked a single to left-center field, and Carson Gooden’s fielder’s choice brought home Hargrove and padded the lead to 4-1.

Sophomore Davion Lewis hammered a double to right-center field to ignite the Eagle 5th inning explosion. Greene walked, and Hatcher advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt. Barnes knocked in Lewis with a single to left, Gooden walked and senior Darius Williamson’s fielder’s choice plated Hargrove, the courtesy runner for Greene.

Butler was hit by a pitch, and Smith walked to force home Barnes. Futrell smoked a single to center that scored Gooden and Butler. Smith darted home on a wild pitch. After Lewis connected for his 2nd hit of the inning, Tyler Johnson, the courtesy runner for Futrell, scored the game-ending run on a wild pitch.

Barnes batted 3-for-3 with a triple, 2 runs batted in and 2 runs scored to lead the Eagle hitters. Futrell finished 2-for-4 at the plate with 3 RBIs. Lewis also turned in a 2-for-4 game with a double and a run scored. Smith singled, had 2 RBIs and a run scored. Gooden and Williamson drove in runs. Butler and Hargrove scored 2 runs each. Johnson, Gooden and Hatcher scored 1 run each.

Ethan Matheson started and pitched 4.1 innings for the Vikings allowing 8 runs on 6 hits and 5 walks while striking out 5. Lamar Brown worked 0.1 innings of relief allowing 3 runs on 2 hits and a walk. Haynes had the RBI single for West Columbus, and teammate Stephen Buffkin also singled.

West Columbus  100 00 —  1-2-1
East Bladen          031 07 — 11-8-0

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