WINNABOW – Evan Pait laid down a suicide squeeze bunt that scored Hunter Elks with the go-ahead run as Bladen County edged Dallas 11-10 on Monday in the third round of the NC Junior Dixie Boys Baseball State Tournament at Town Creek Park.
With the scored tied 10-10 in the top of the seventh inning, Elks blasted a triple then dashed home as Pait dropped down the bunt to put Bladen on top 11-10.
Bladen County advanced to the final four of the tournament with the win and will play at 1:30 Tuesday against an opponent to be determined.
Winning pitcher Lee Barnes pitched a scoreless seventh inning to secure the win. Barnes worked 3.1 innings on the mound and allowed a run on five hits while striking out three. Chase Knight started and pitched two innings for Bladen allowing three runs on five walks and three hits while striking out two. Britt Sasser relieved Knight and pitched 1.2 innings, allowing six runs on seven hits and two walks.
Bladen County scored two runs in the first inning. Elks drew a leadoff walk, and Barnes smacked a single. Both Elks and Barnes scored on passed balls.
Dallas tied the game 2-2 in the home first. Jake Futrell and Britt Sasser smashed singles to begin the Bladen second. Elks walked, and Pait reached base on an error that scored Futrell. Barnes and Parker Greene drew walks that forced home Sasser and Elks.
Carson Gooden ripped a single that scored Pait and Barnes. Knight and Futrell laced back-to-back singles that scored Greene and Gooden as Bladen opened up a 9-2 lead.
Dallas rallied with a run in the second inning, three runs in the third and three more runs in the fourth to tie the game 9-9.
Bladen County scored a run in the sixth to take a 10-9 lead. Barnes swatted a single, stole second base and eventually scored when Gooden launched a sacrifice fly to right field.
Dallas tied the game again 10-10 in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Elks batted 2-for-3 with a triple and three runs scored for Bladen County. Barnes finished 2-for-3 at the plate with a run batted in and three runs scored. Futrell batted 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Pait doubled, scored a run and drove in a run.
Gooden, Greene, Knight and Sasser connected for one single each. Gooden drove in three runs, Knight and Greene drove in one run each. Greene, Gooden and Sasser scored runs.