Photos by Kenneth Armstrong
TAR HEEL – Evan Pait pitched an 8-hit shutout and struck out 14 batters to lead Elizabethtown to a 10-0 victory over Clarkton School of Discovery Thursday in the championship game of the Bladen County Middle School Conference Baseball Tournament.
Coach Larry Williams’ Cougars completed an undefeated 12-0 season and added the Bladen title to their Waccamaw Middle School Conference AAA Division championship.
Pait drew a lead-off walk in the Elizabethtown first inning, stole second and third bases then darted home on a passed ball. Coleman Tatum walked, stole second and third bases then scored on an error for a 2-0 lead.
Garrison Tatum reached base on an error to begin the Cougar fourth inning and raced home when Weston Hatcher walloped a double to leftfield. Hatcher sprinted home as Hunter Elks reached base on an error. Chase Knight reached base on an error as Elks scored to push the lead to 5-0.
Zamar Lewis lined a single to centerfield to start the Elizabethtown sixth inning. Lewis advanced on a passed ball and Nathan Howell’s sacrifice bunt then scored as Pait reached base on an error. Coleman Tatum also reached base on an error, before Garrison Tatum ripped a single to left that scored Pait.
Hunter Smith walked to load the bases, and Hatcher blasted a triple to leftfield that scored Coleman Tatum, Garrison Tatum and Smith and ended the game on the mercy rule.
Hatcher slugged a double and a triple, batted 3-for-4, drove in four runs and scored a run to lead the Elizabethtown hitters. Garrison Tatum finished 2-for-4 at the plate, drove in a run and scored twice. Lewis singled and scored a run. Pait and Coleman Tatum scored two runs each, and Smith and Elks scored runs.
Tragen McCullum and Nyquan Richardson both batted 2-for-3 to lead the Clarkton hitters. Garrett Dunham, Lee Barnes, Parker Greene and Jake Futrell added one hit each.
McCullum started on the mound for the Blue Devils and gave up two runs on two walks. Barnes pitched 5.2 innings and allowed eight unearned runs on six hits and two walks while striking out two.