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Baseball: West Columbus 8, West Bladen 2

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CERRO GORDO – Seniors Justin Connor and Ethan Hilbourn combined on a 6-hitter, and West Columbus bolted to an early 6-1 lead en route to an 8-2 Three Rivers Conference baseball victory over West Bladen.

Connor started and worked 5.1 innings on the hill allowing 2 runs – 1 earned – on 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out five. Hilbourn relieved and pitched the final 1.2 innings striking out 2 and allowing no hits and no runs.

Senior Austin Booth and Hilbourn led off the Viking 1st inning with singles, advanced on L. B. Allen’s sacrifice bunt and raced home on senior Ethan Hinson’s 2-run single.

Junior Bryley Williams led off the Knight 2nd inning with a walk, and sophomore Hunter Elks raked a single to left field. Junior Alex Strange knocked in Williams with a single to center that trimmed the Viking lead to 2-1.

Sophomore Matthew Ivey was hit by a pitch in the Viking 2nd inning, advanced on a throwing error and scored on senior Ethan Brown’s single to pad the lead to 3-1.

Senior Sam West slammed a double to left to begin the home half of the 3rd and dashed home on a passed ball. Ivey singled and Brown reached base on an error, before Booth cleaned the bases with a triple to center that stretched the lead to 6-1. Allen doubled in the West Columbus 4th inning and dashed home on a wild pitch.

Williams ripped a single to left in the Knight 6th inning and moved up as sophomore Michael Young reached base on a fielder’s choice. Elks ripped a single to left that sent Williams to 3rd base and he scooted home on a passed ball to trim the margin to 7-2.

Hilbourn walked, stole a base and scampered home on Allen’s single in the 6th inning.

Alex Strange batted 2-for-3 with a run batted in to lead the Knight hitters. Elks also finished 2-for-3 at the plate. Williams and junior Devon Strange connected for 1 hit each. Williams scored both Knight runs.

Junior Josh Russ started and pitched 1.2 innings for the Knights allowing 3 runs on 4 hits and a walk while striking out one. Junior Kaiden Stanley relieved and worked 1.1 innings giving up 3 runs – 1 earned – on 3 hits and a walk while striking out two. Williams pitched the final 3 innings allowing 2 runs – 1 earned – on 2 hits and a walk while striking out one.

Allen batted 2-for-2 with a double, an RBI and a run scored for the Vikings. Booth finished 2-for-4 at the plate with 2 RBIs and a run scored. West doubled and scored a run. Ivey and Hilbourn both had 1 hit and 2 runs scored each.

The Knights, now 1-4 in league play and 2-8 overall, will host St. Pauls Friday night.