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Baseball: East Bladen 12, St. Pauls 4

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It was Senior Night for the East Bladen baseball team Tuesday at Russell Priest Field. Each of the eight seniors played a role in the Eagles’ 12-4 win over St. Pauls.

East Bladen erupted for nine runs in the fifth inning to rally past the Bulldogs and remained in contention for the Three Rivers Conference’s top seed for the upcoming state playoffs.

The Eagles are 5-1 in league play and 8-4 overall. East Bladen is scheduled to play at East Columbus (4-0, 7-2) on Thursday with first place on the line. East Columbus beat the Eagles 8-5 in a nonconference game played May 7.

Photos by Kenneth Armstrong

As for Tuesday’s win, junior Raymond Autry drove home four runs with a bases-clearing triple and a single, but it was a night for the East Bladen seniors.

• Zach Meares pitched the final three innings, picked off an inherited runner and retired the eight batters he faced. He also tripled and singled and scored once.

• Jacob Priest had a pair of hits, walked twice, scored twice and drove in a run.

• Lefrederick Wooten singled, scored a run and plated a pair of runs when his liner to right was dropped by the fielder during the nine-run uprising.

• Brady Hollingsworth singled, walked twice and was hit by a pitch.

• Drew Sholar drove home a run with a bases loaded walk in the fifth and later scored. He also singled and scored in the sixth. He also made a nice running catch in right in the third.

• Tyler Hill made a spectacular over-the-shoulder catch in deep left on the first batter of the game that led to a 3-up, 3-down inning on only six pitches for sophomore starter Evan Pait.

• Grayson Clark drove home the Eagles’ first run with a single up the middle that pulled East Bladen within 3-1 in the fourth inning.

• Rasean McKoy had a RBI single in the fourth and also made a shoestring catch in the third inning on a liner by St. Pauls’ Josh Henderson.

Photos by Kenneth Armstrong

Pait pitched into the fifth inning for East Bladen before being relieved by Meares. The right-hander allowed four runs on four hits, walked four, struck out two and hit a batter.

Trailing 4-2 going into the bottom of the fifth, East Bladen sent 14 batters to the plate against three St. Pauls pitchers to take an 11-4 lead.

Meares began the inning with a triple in the gap in right-center and scored on Priest’s base hit to right. Wooten followed with a single to right. Priest scored on a wild pitch that tied the game at 4.

Consecutive walks to Hollingsworth, Pait, Sholar and Ethan Johnson gave East Bladen a 6-4 lead. That’s when Autry blasted his triple over the head of the center fielder that gave the Eagles a 9-4 advantage.

Priest drew a two-out walk. Wooten then slapped a liner to right that was dropped by the fielder and allowed two more runs to score.

East Bladen added a rn in the sixth when Sholar singled, moved to second on Johnson’s single, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Autry’s single.