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Softball: West Bladen 9, Pender 7

BURGAW – Junior Laikyn Pait walloped a 2-run home run to ignite a 5-run West Bladen sixth inning that propelled the Lady Knights to a key 9-7 Four County Conference softball victory over Pender Tuesday night.

Pender ace Gracie Vincent took a 6-4 lead into the West Bladen sixth, but junior Alanna Ludlum cracked a one-out single, and Pait crushed a 2-run, game-tying home run over the leftfield fence.

Junior Sophia Singletary drew a walk, and junior Jenna Dove reached base on an error. After junior Kathryn Schultz walked, freshman Conner Brisson knocked in Patience Parker, the courtesy runner for Singletary, with a single.

Junior Kassidy Anderson reached base on an error as Dove and Schultz both scored to vault the Lady Knights in front 9-6.

Vincent led off the Pender seventh with a single and scored the final Lady Patriot run on a 2-out error.

“It was a good win for us,” said Lady Knight Coach Joey Autry. “We hung in there and just kept fighting.”

The win keeps the Lady Knights (8-2) ahead of Pender (8-3) in second-place in the league only one game behind league-leading Heide Trask (10-1). West Bladen is also 2 games ahead of Midway (6-4) in the race for the top Class 2A play-off seed.

Singletary allowed seven runs –two earned – on ten hits, while striking out four and walking none as she raised her record to 8-7. “We had some errors and mental mistakes early in the game, and Sophia just battled her way through it,” said Coach Autry.

Ludlum batted 2-4 with a triple, a run batted in and 2 runs scored. Freshman Carley Dawson finished 2-4 with 2 rbi’s and a run scored. Brisson turned in a 2-3 game with an rbi.

Pait slugged the 2-run homer, drove in 3 runs and scored a run. Anderson doubled, scored twice and drove in 2 runs. Dove singled and scored a run. Schultz and Parker scored runs.

Anderson reached base on an error to start the game, stole second base and raced home when Dawson smacked a single. Ludlum blasted the triple that scored Dawson, and Pait’s ground ball plated Ludlum for a 3-0 West lead.

Junior Imani Newkirk reached on an error to begin the Pender first and scored on an infield out. Vincent ripped a double and scored on freshman Alana Buie’s single to trim the margin to 3-2.

Newkirk smashed a triple to right-centerfield in the Pender second inning that scored Tanazsa Simpson with the tying run.

West Bladen edged ahead 4-3 in the third. Anderson hammered a double and scored on Dawson’s fielder’s choice. An error and freshman Ashley Dupalevich’s rbi single pulled Pender even in the bottom of the third.

Newkirk singled in the fourth but was retired on senior Kamaya Nixon’s fielder’s choice. Vincent then launched a home run over the left field fence to put Pender on top 6-4.

Vincent finished 3-4 with the double and the 2-run home run to lead the Pender hitters. Newkirk batted 3-4 with a triple and an rbi.

The Lady Knights have won seven straight games to raise their record to 11-7 and will host Wallace-Rose Hill Wednesday at 6 p.m.

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