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By John Clark

BLADENBORO – Baseball excitement continued at “The Castle” Friday night as West Bladen scored 6 runs in the 6th inning and left the tying and go-ahead runs on base before dropping an 11-9 decision to Southeastern Athletic Conference champion Midway.

The Knights had rallied for 2 runs in the 9th inning Thursday night to edge St. Pauls’ but trailed 11-3 after a 5-run Raider explosion in the top of the 6th. Senior Hunter Smith walked to begin the bottom of the 6th, and pinch-hitter Will Durden ripped a liner to left field that skipped past the fielder for a double that scored Smith.

Senior Hunter Elks and sophomore Hezekiah Adams drew walks to load the bases. Sophomore Cade Allen walloped a double to left-center field that scored Will Durden and Elks and a throwing error on the play scored Adams and Allen to slice the margin to 11-8.

Junior Andre Moore legged out a bunt single and a throwing error sent Moore to 2nd base. Sophomore Brady Durden smoked a grounder into the shortstop hole that scored Moore and whittled the lead to 11-9. Smith walked, and Will Durden scorched a single to right that loaded the bases, but a foul pop ended the inning.

Raider senior Hunter Tyndall retired the Knights in order in the 7th inning on 2 strikeouts and a ground-out.

Will Durden finished a perfect 2-for-2 off the bench with a double, a run scored and an RBI to lead the Knight hitters. Brady Durden batted 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Allen turned in a 2-for-5 performance with a double, 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored. Sophomore Garrett Dunham also batted 2-for-5 with a run scored.

Adams, Moore and senior Kaden Revels added 1 hit each to the Knight attack. Adams, junior Jordan Hester, Moore, Smith and Elks scored runs. Smith had an RBI.

Dunham started on the hill for the Knights and pitched 3.1 innings allowing 5 runs – 4 earned – on 5 hits and 2 walks. Freshman Hunter Hester worked an inning of relief and allowed a run on a hit and 3 walks. Allen pitched 1 inning and allowed 5 runs – 4 earned – on 3 hits and 2 walks. Smith finished up with 1.2 innings of scoreless, hitless relief, struck out 2 and walked one.

Senior Trey Gregory batted 3-for-5 with 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored to lead the Raiders. Freshman Carson Tew finished 2-for-3 with 4 RBIs and a run scored. Junior Tripp Westbrook doubled, and Tyndall, Wyatt Lucas and Wyatt Herring added 1 hit each. Herring had an RBI and scored 2 runs.

Sophomore Dale Martin started for the Raiders and pitched 5 innings allowing 3 runs – 1 earned – on 7 hits and a walk while striking out 3. Junior Christian Lee gave up 4 runs on 3 walks and a hit, and Tyndall pitched the final 2 innings and allowed 2 unearned runs on 2 hits and a walk while striking out 3.

Lucas, Gregory and Tew delivered singles in the Raiders 5-run 1st inning. Tyndall and Wyatt Richards were hit by pitches, and John McLamb walked. Lucas, Tyndall, Herring, Gregory and courtesy runner Andre Harps scored runs.

Dunham and Allen raked singles to left in the West half of the inning, and Jordan Hester reached base on an error. Dunham scooted home after the error, and Brady Durden lined a single to left that scored Allen to trim the margin to 5-2.

Jordan Hester walked to start the Knight 3rd inning. Hester advanced on a fielder’s choice, went to 3rd when Brady Durden laced a single to left and scored on Smith’s fielder’s choice to narrow the gap to 5-3.

Richards and Tew drew walks in the Midway 5th inning, and Richards later scored on an error to boost the lead to 6-3.

McLamb was hit by a pitch to begin the Raider 6th inning, and Herring and Gregory cracked singles that scored McLamb. Richards walked, and Tew drove in Herring and Gregory with a single to left. Harps, the courtesy runner for Richards, dashed home on a wild pitch and Tew scored on an error as the lead grew to 11-3.

West Bladen finished tied with St. Pauls for 4th place in the SAC-7 with a 6-6 record and 13-8 overall mark. Midway won the league with an 11-1 record and is 20-2 overall. The teams will now wait for the NCHSAA playoff brackets to be released.

Midway            500 015 0 — 11-  9-4
West Bladen  201 006 0 —   9-11-3

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