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ELIZABETHTOWN — Nate Smith pitched six strong innings and drove in three runs Wednesday night in leading Midway past East Bladen 8-4 and into sole possession of first place in the Southeastern Athletic Conference.

Smith allowed three runs — one earned — on three hits, struck out seven and walked one. At the plate, Smith tripled home a run in the first inning, plated another run with a single in the third and added a sacrifice fly in the fourth that gave the Raiders a 6-2 lead.

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Photos by Kenneth Armstrong

The victory, combined with St. Pauls’ 7-2 win against Fairmont, left the Raiders alone atop the SAC standings. Midway is 9-0 in league games and 11-7 overall. Fairmont is 8-1 and 15-3.

East Bladen fell to 4-5 in the SAC and 8-10 overall following its sixth consecutive defeat.

East Bladen is scheduled to play at Midway on Friday, then conclude the regular season next week with a pair of games against Clinton (3-6, 8-10).

Evan Pait took the loss for East Bladen in Wednesday’s contest. The junior right-hander gave up eight runs — five earned — on nine hits, walked three and struck out two over five innings. Coleman Tatum pitched the final two innings for the Eagles and allowed a hit, walked three and struck out two.

Ethan Johnson, Marlan Davis and Pait each had doubles for East Bladen. Raymond Autry, Pait and Tatum each drove home a run. Davis scored twice and Chase Starkloff and Cole Butler scored once.

Midway scored a run in the first on consecutive one-out triples by Caden Wilson and Smith.

East Bladen took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the frame. Starkloff reached on a dropped third strike, moved to second on a ground out, then scored on Pait’s double to right. Tyler Johnson reached on an error that scored courtesy runner Butler.

The Raiders tied it with a run in the second when Trey Gregory led off with a walk and later scored on a wild pitch.

Midway took the lead for good with a pair of runs in the third. Wilson smashed his second triple of the game and scored on Smith’s single. Courtesy runner Wyatt Lucas scored when Hunter Tyndall reached on a fielder’s choice.

Midway added a pair of runs in the fourth and fifth innings to increase its advantage to 8-2. The Eagles committed three errors during those innings.

East Bladen added runs in the fifth and seventh innings. In the fifth, Davis doubled to right and moved to third on an error on the play, then scored on Tatum’s ground out. In the seventh, Davis reached on a two-out error and later scored when Johnson reached on another error.

Midway         112 220 0 — 8-10-2
East Bladen  200 010 1 — 4-  3-3

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