Owning it with an early-game lead and tough defense, East Bladen took Clinton by storm Tuesday night in men’s baseball, earning a decisive 17-3 victory.
A solid but disadvantaged scoreboard at the end of the first inning set the tone throughout the rest of the game for the home team. The visiting Eagles pressed in for three runs, giving them an early lead over Clinton’s one run in the bottom of the inning.
East Bladen’s advantage widened from 3-1 to 7-1 in the top of the second through strong batting and quick-footed offense. Echoing earlier games in the season for the Dark Horses, matches marked by late-game rallying to come out over what looked like insurmountable odds, the home team successfully regrouped their defense strategy.
The disproportionate scoreboard then held through the bottom of the second and lasted into the opening of the fourth. East Bladen broke through the wall with one run in the fourth and sixth. Clinton, however, couldn’t do the same against East Bladen pitchers Sincere Smith and Quinton Bedsole, and five innings of silent bats closed the sixth at 9-1.
In an unexpected twist in Clinton’s season, it was the Eagles that dominated the endgame offense with a stellar eight-run seventh inning that put victory squarely in their sights. The Dark Horses could only answer with two runs in the bottom of the seventh as Garrett Faircloth and Charles Jordan took home. After the final at bat– a long hit caught by East Bladen centerfielder Kyle Tatum – the Eagles had finished the Horses, 17-3.
“We had the bat on the ball decent at times,” spoke Coach Scott Lewis. “But, when you dig yourself that big a hole at the beginning of the game, that makes it really tough.”
As for the rest of the season, Lewis noted the importance of morale to a game.
“They’ve got to find a way to come back,” he nodded. “We’ve got a tough one (Wednesday) over at Midway. Hopefully we can bounce back and be ready to play.”
East Bladen’s overall record boosts to 7-4 with a new Four County Conference score of 6-2. Pender will be travelling to meet the Eagles on their home turf in Elizabethtown this Wednesday for a conference game.
Clinton’s loss drops the team’s overall to 6-4 and a conference of 4-4. They were to travel to Spivey’s Corner Wednesday for a conference rematch against the Midway Raiders.
Reach Sports editor Daron Barefoot at firstname.lastname@example.org.