By Sonny Jones
Evan Pait needed 28 pitches to get through the first inning.
The senior right-hander needed only 77 pitches the rest of the game, notching his game-ending 15th strikeout on his pitch-limit 105th toss in East Bladen’s 2-0 win against St. Pauls on Tuesday at Russell Priest Field.
Pait struck out the side in the fifth and sixth innings, picked off a runner in the first inning and fielded a bunt for an out in the fourth. The only out Pait wasn’t involved in came in the seventh when first baseman Zamar Lewis caught a foul pop.
Pait allowed two hits, hit a batter and walked two, both in the first inning. He threw 72 strikes and 33 balls for the game with 15 strikes and 13 balls in the first inning.
East Bladen scored the only run it needed in the second inning on consecutive singles by Weston Hatcher, Coleman Tatum and Jake Futrell. The Eagles’ other run came in the third when Lewis walked, stole second and third, then scored on a throwing error by the catcher on a pickoff attempt.
Cameron Revels took the loss for the Bulldogs. The left-hander went three innings, allowed three hits, two runs — one earned — struck out three and walked four. Tommy Parker gave up two hits over the final three innings.
Futrell was 2-for-3 and had the game’s lone run batted in for East Bladen. Marlan Davis walked three times.
East Bladen improved to 5-5 in the Southeastern Athletic Conference and 9-10 overall. The Eagles are scheduled to host Red Springs on Wednesday at 6 p.m. and play at St. Pauls on Friday to close the regular season.
East Bladen seniors Ty Mathis, Coleman Tatum, Garrison Tatum, Davis, Pait, Lewis and Hatcher will be recognized prior to Wednesday’s game. The ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m.
St. Pauls is 6-4 in league play and 8-11 overall. The Bulldogs are scheduled to play at West Bladen on Thursday before closing the regular season Friday against the Eagles.
St. Pauls threatened in the first inning as Pait tried to find his control. Revels led off with a full-count walk, but was picked off. Tommy Parker lined a two-out single and Kemarion Baldwin walked on seven pitches to put runners on first and second. Pait then struck out Jaden Parker to end the inning.
In St. Pauls’ fourth, Parker was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Baldwin, but Pait struck out the next two batters.
St. Pauls 000 000 0 — 0-2-3
East Bladen 011 000 x — 2-5-0