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ST. PAULS – A 6-run third-inning sparked St. Pauls to a 9-1 lead, and the Bulldogs held off a 4-run last-inning rally by East Bladen for a 9-5 season-opening non-conference baseball victory Monday night.

The Bulldogs scored in the first, but the Eagles tied the game 1-1 in the second. Sophmore Shy Pone led off the inning with a single and advanced on a balk. Juniors Quinton Bedsole and Deondre Newkirk belted singles as East Bladen pulled even.

St. Pauls scored 6 runs in the third inning and 2 more in the fourth to take the 9-1 lead.

Juniors Brooks McGill and Sincere Smith cracked singles to start the East Bladen seventh inning. Senior Kyle Tatum and junior Ty Watkins ripped singles as McGill, Smith and Tatum scored. Watkins scored on a passed ball that trimmed the margin to 9-5.

Watkins batted 2-4 with a double to lead the Eagle hitters, and Kyle Tatum and Smith also finished 2-4 at the plate. Pone, Bedsole, Newkirk and McGill added one hit each.

Xavier Wooten started on the mound for East Bladen, and Watkins came on in relief in the fifth inning.

The Eagles will host West Columbus Friday at 6 p.m.

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