West Bladen Easter Tournament: West Bladen 7, West Columbus 6
BLADENBORO – Freshman Hezekiah Blanks-Adams lined a walk-off double into the right field corner that lifted West Bladen to a 7-6 victory over West Columbus Tuesday in the opening round of the West Bladen Easter baseball tournament.
The Vikings carried a 6-5 lead into the bottom of the 5th and final inning, but senior Brycen Blackmon lined a single over shortstop to start the Knight rally. Junior Hunter Smith ripped a single to right field, and the throw to 3rd base skipped away allowing Blackmon to race home with the tying run.
Smith sprinted all the way to 3rd on the play. Senior Alex Brisson was hit by a pitch, before Blanks-Adams drilled the game-winner that could have been a triple if the game had not ended when Smith touched home plate.
The Knights were within 2 outs of winning the game 5-4 in the top of the 5th, but Viking juniors Brian Stewart and Evan Ward cracked singles, and senior JT Pate was hit by a pitch. Sophomore Seth Williams vaulted the visitors in front with a 2-run single.
Freshman Brady Durden relieved Brisson on the mound and struck out the next 2 batters with 2 runners in scoring position. “Our freshmen (Durden and Blanks-Adams) really came through for us there at the end,” said Knight Coach John Ammons.
Brisson started and pitched 4.1 innings for the Knights allowing 6 runs – 5 earned – on 7 hits and 2 walks while striking out five. Durden struck out the only 2 batters that he faced and picked up the win when the Knights rallied in the last inning.
Blanks-Adams slammed the run-scoring double and scored twice to lead the Knight hitters. Blackmon, Smith, senior Bryley Williams and juniors Hunter Elks and Bryce Fuller connected for 1 hit each. Elks, Fuller, Smith, and Bryley Williams drove in runs, and Fuller, Blackmon, Smith, Bryley Williams and senior Devon Strange scored runs.
Fuller walked, and Devon Strange was hit by a pitch in the Knight 1st inning. Smith hammered a drive to left-center field that was misplayed by the Viking center fielder as both Fuller and Devon Strange scored for a 2-0 West Bladen lead.
Junior Frank DeLeon swatted a double down the left field line to begin the Viking 2nd inning, and Pate blooped a single to center. Seth Williams plated DeLeon with a single. Junior Evan Ward walked, and Pate was forced out at the plate. An error on Brady Holcomb’s fielder’s choice plated Williams with the tying run. Junior Matthew Ivey’s single to right scored Ward and junior Evan Thompson to push the Vikings ahead 4-2.
Bryley Williams walked and stole 2nd base in the Knight 2nd inning. Elks belted a single to right-center field that scored Bryley Williams. Blanks-Adams, the courtesy runner for the catcher Elks, scooted home to tie the game 4-4 when Fuller spanked a single to right.
Blanks-Adams drew a 2-out walk in the Knight 3rd inning and dashed all the way to 2nd base when ball 4 skipped to the backstop. Bryley Williams raked a single to left that scored Blanks-Adams and put West Bladen on top 5-4.
DeLeon batted 2-for-3 with a double and 2 runs scored to lead the Vikings. Seth Williams was 2-for-3 with 3 runs batted in and a run scored.
Senior Troy Green started on the hill and worked 1.2 innings giving up 4 runs – 2 earned – on 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out four. Stewart pitched the final 2.1 innings and allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and a walk while striking out one.
The Knights improved to 6-11 and advanced to the tournament championship game against North Brunswick.
W. Columbus 040 02 -6-7-2
West Bladen 221 02 –7-6-1