ELIZABETHTOWN – East Bladen’s base-running speed netted 18 bases Friday night as the Eagles raced past Wallace-Rose Hill 11-1 in a Four County Conference baseball game on Senior Night at East.
The Eagles stole 7 bases – including 3 steals of home plate – gained 7 bases on wild pitches and advanced 4 more bases on Bulldog throwing errors.
“We have got some guys who can really run,” said East Bladen Coach Russell Priest. “You need that speed to put pressure on the defense.”
Junior Sincere Smith drew a one-out walk in the Eagle first inning. Senior Kyle Tatum drilled a single to centerfield. Smith and sophmore Dan Tatum, the courtesy runner for his brother Kyle, both advanced two bases on a pair of wild pitches with Smith scooting home.
Junior Xavier Wooten and sophmore Josh McKoy drew walks, before Quinton Bedsole lined a single to centerfield that scored Dan Tatum and sophmore Greyson Heustess, the courtesy runner for Wooten, to put the Eagles ahead 3-0.
In the East second inning, junior Deondre Newkirk and sophmore Shy Pone drew walks and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Smith launched a sacrifice fly to right that scored Newkirk, and Kyle Tatum blasted a double over the leftfielder’s head that drove in Pone.
McKoy beat out an infield hit and scampered all the way to third base when the throw skipped past the firstbaseman. Courtesy runner Dan Tatum dashed home on the error. Junior Brooks McGill walked and stole second base, and when the Bulldogs threw to second, McKoy stole home to push the East lead to 7-0.
Smith walloped a triple over the rightfielder’s head to begin the Eagle fourth. After Kyle Tatum was hit by a pitch, Wooten lifted a sacrifice fly to rightfield that scored Smith. McKoy smacked a single to centerfield. The Bulldog pitcher picked McKoy off first base, but courtesy runner Dan Tatum broke for the plate and slid in headfirst with another steal of home.
The Bulldogs trimmed the Eagle lead to 9-1 in the sixth, but East Bladen ended the game on the mercy rule in the bottom of the inning. Smith was hit by a pitch, stole second and scampered to third base when the throw went into centerfield.
Kyle Tatum was hit by a pitch, and courtesy runner Dan Tatum stole second base. On the same play Smith stole home on the back end of the double steal. Dan Tatum broke for third on a wild pitch that skidded a short distance away from the catcher whose throw sailed into leftfield and allowed Dan Tatum to dash home and end the game.
Kyle Tatum batted 2-2 with a double, a run batted in and his courtesy runner Dan Tatum scored 4 runs. McKoy also finished 2-2 at the plate and scored a run. Smith tripled, scored 3 runs and had one rbi.
McGill and Bedsole added one hit each. Bedsole drove in two runs, and Wooten had an rbi. Pone, Wooten, and Newkirk scored one run each.
Wooten pitched a complete game 5-hitter for the Eagles, striking out 8 and hitting 3 batters. Two of the Bulldog hits were infield hits. The Wallace-Rose Hill run was unearned. Wooten raised his record to 5-2 with the win.
Kyle Tatum and Nick Collins were the East Bladen seniors honored in ceremonies before the game.
East Bladen improves to 10-2 in league play and 12-5 overall. The Eagles travel to Union Tuesday night for a 7:00 game.