NCHSAA 2-A Baseball Playoffs: West Bladen 9, Heide Trask 5
ROCKY POINT – Sophomore Brady Durden pitched 5 strong innings of relief and sophomore Cade Allen knocked in 3 runs with 4 hits as West Bladen’s Knights rallied twice from early deficits to defeat No. 8 seed Heide Trask 9-5 Tuesday night.
Coach Wade Pait’s Knights improved to 14-8 with the win. Their 2nd-round opponent will hopefully be determined Wednesday night as Tuesday’s game between No. 24-seed Edenton Holmes and No. 9 East Carteret was rained out.
Sophomore Garrett Dunham drew a 1-out walk in the Knight 1st inning then advanced on a fielder’s choice and a wild pitch before dashing home when Allen raked a single to the left side for a 1-0 lead.
The Titans answered in the home 1st when Isaac Turner singled, O’Mariyan Ennis walked, and senior Brandon Bannerman slugged a 3-run home run to left.
West Bladen battled back in the 2nd inning. Junior Jordan Hester walked, and junior Andre Moore drilled a double to right field. Senior Hunter Elks poled a sacrifice fly to left that scored Jordan Hester. Moore darted to 3rd base on a wild pitch and scored the tying run when senior Kaden Revels lifted a sacrifice fly to center.
Dunham ripped a single to left to start the Knight 3rd inning then stole 2nd base. Allen smoked a single through the middle, and the center fielder misplayed the ball allowing Dunham to score and put West ahead 4-3.
Turner doubled to begin the Titan 3rd inning and scored the tying run on Ennis’ single. Ennis stole 2nd base and scooted home on Matix Wiler’s single to put Trask back on top 5-4.
Moore beat out an infield hit to lead off the Knight 4th inning. Revels laced a single to center field. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, and Dunham walked. Senior Hunter Smith walked to force home Moore with the tying run. Allen brought home Revels with a single that put the Knights ahead to stay at 6-5.
Dunham smashed a single to center field in the 6th inning, stole 2nd base, moved up on a fielder’s choice and scored when Allen scorched a single through the middle to pad the lead to 7-5.
Jordan Hester scalded a single through the left side to begin the Knight 7th inning, but his pinch-runner was caught stealing. Moore beat out an infield hit, and Elks hammered a double to left. An error that allowed Revels to reach base scored Moore, and Dunham launched the Knights’ 3rd sacrifice fly of the game that scored Elks and boosted the lead to 9-5.
Senior Garrison Carr started on the mound for the Knights and pitched 2 innings allowing 3 runs on 3 hits and a walk. Dunham worked the final 5 innings and gave up 2 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3.
Allen finished 4-for-5 at the plate with 3 RBIs to lead the West hitters. Moore batted 3-for-4 with a double and scored 3 runs. Dunham was a perfect 2-for-2 at the plate with an RBI and 3 runs scored. Elks doubled, scored a run and had an RBI. Revels and Jordan Hester had 1 hit each and scored 1 run each. Revels and Smith had RBIs.
Turner batted 2-for-4 with a double and 2 runs scored for Trask. Bannerman walloped the 3-run homer, and Wiler was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Ennis singled, scored twice and had an RBI.
Turner started and pitched 4 innings allowing 6 runs on 7 hits and 4 walks while striking out 6. Freshman Brantley Lunsford worked 2.1 innings of relief and gave up 3 runs – 1 earned – on 5 hits and a walk while striking out one. Conner Gore faced the final 3 batters and allowed only 1 walk.
The Titans beat Whiteville twice to earn the co-championship of the Waccamaw Conference and finished the season with a 16-7 record.
West Bladen 121 201 2 — 9-12-1
Heide Trask 302 000 0 — 5- 6-3