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J. Hoyt Warren-Wayne Edwards Invitational Baseball Tournament: East Bladen 7, Grays Creek 4

FAYETTEVILLE – Second baseman Quinton Bedsole snagged a line drive and stepped on second base for the game-ending double play as East Bladen escaped a bases-loaded jam and defeated Grays Creek 7-4 Tuesday to take third-place in the J. Hoyt Warren-Wayne Edwards Invitational Baseball Tournament at Douglas Byrd High.

Zach Bagley’s single, a walk and an error loaded the bases for Grays Creek in the top of the seventh. Cody Patterson lobbed a single to right that scored Bagley and narrowed the Eagle lead to 7-4.

Sophmore righthander Xavier Wooten struck out the next batter, before Bedsole’s unassisted double play on Dillon Taylor’s liner ended the game.

Wooten pitched 3 innings to record his first save of the season, striking out four and giving up one run on 3 hits and 2 walks.

Sophmore lefthander Ty Watkins started on the hill and pitched 4 scoreless innings to raise his record to 2-0. Watkins struck out 3, walked 2 and gave up 2 hits. Sophmore Devan Stocks faced 3 batters in the fifth inning and allowed 3 runs on 2 hits and an error.

The Eagles batted around in the first inning and took a 3-0 lead. Sophmore Sincere Smith walked, stole second and third bases and darted home on Nikita Owens’ infield grounder.

Junior Kyle Tatum walked, stole second and dashed home on Alex Coates’ infield hit. Watkins drew a walk, and courtesy runner Pierce Melvin moved up when Wooten was hit by a pitch and on Coates’ infield hit. Melvin sprinted home on Bedsole’s infield hit to shortstop.

The Eagles padded their lead to 4-0 in the second. Smith lined a single down the leftfield line. Tatum beat out an infield hit and a wild throw on the play sent Smith to third base. Owens’s grounder brought home Smith.

Coates hammered a double over the leftfielder’s head to begin the East Bladen third inning. Two outs later a throwing error on Smith’s ground ball plated Coates and stretched the lead to 5-0.

Grays Creek tallied 3 runs in the fifth on 2 hits and an error, but the Eagles answered with 2 runs in the bottom of the inning. Bedsole was hit by a pitch, and Heustess belted a single through the middle.

Smith drilled a single to left to load the bases. Stocks poled a sacrifice fly to rightfield that brought in Bedsole. Tatum slammed a double down the leftfield line that drove in Heustess and upped the count to 7-3.

The Bears threatened in the top of the sixth putting runners at second and third on a walk, an infield hit and a double steal, but Wooten struck out the next 2 batters to end the inning.

Tatum batted 2-3 with a double, a run batted in and a run scored. Coates finished 2-4 with a double, an rbi and a run scored.  Smith was 2-3 with 2 runs scored.

Watkins, Heustess, Bedsole and Deondre Newkirk cracked one hit each for the winners. Owens drove in 2 runs, and Bedsole and Stocks had one rbi each. Bedsole, Heustess, and Melvin scored one run each.

Bagley batted 3-4 with an rbi and 2 runs scored for the Bears. Patterson finished 2-4 with an rbi, and Tyler Meeks doubled in a run for Grays Creek.

Conner Stockhausen, the first of a trio of Bear pitchers, took the loss.

Coach Russell Priest’s Eagles improved to 7-3 and will host Wallace-Rose Hill on April 7th in their next game.

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