Battling the elements, the East Lincoln Mustangs defeated the North Lincoln Knights 9-8 on Tuesday.
The Mustangs took a 3-1 lead through three innings of play. East added three more in the fifth inning.
North, however, refused to quit, scoring two runs in the fifth and adding five more in the sixth.
East Lincoln scored two in the sixth inning to tie the game 8-8. They added a run in the ninth which turned out to be the game winner.
The Mustangs overcame five errors and only generated two hits in the contest to earn their first win of the season. Head coach Matt Neville believes the youth of his team and North Lincolnâ€™s contributed to an interesting game.
“Both teams are young and inexperienced and the play was a little sloppy, but it didnâ€™t lack excitement. In the end, our disciplined style of play prevailed which was bunting, stealing bases and running the base paths,” he said.
Neville was pleased his team did what it took to earn their first victory of the year.
“Itâ€™s a big rivalry game since it was the first meeting between East and North. It was a big win for us because itâ€™s our first one,” he said.
Knightsâ€™ head coach Sean Andrews felt that mental mistakes was the difference in the ballgame.
“The weather definitely had a factor, but both teams had to play in it. We broke down fundamentally with the errors and the walks â€” it just killed us,” he said.
East Lincoln used any means to get the win. The Mustangs were walked seven times and had four batters hit by pitches.
Once they got on base, they used aggressive base running to their advantage. East stole 11 bases with Grayson Schram snagging four of his own.
“The ability to get on base, no matter what it took. Pitch selection and on-base percentage was the key to the game,” Neville said.
Andrews agreed with that assessment.
“They put the ball in play and the two hits they had were early in the game. They suicide-squeezed three times and our guys just made some mental errors.”
Seth Alexander earned his first victory of the year for the Mustangs.
Leading hitters for the Knights were T.J. Skidmore who racked up three doubles and two RBIs, Ryan Pendleton who homered for the second time this season and Kyle Baker who had two base hits.
Skidmore picked up the loss on the mound. North had nine hits in the contest.
The loss drops North Lincolnâ€™s record to 1-4 on the season. The win for the Mustangs raises their record to 1-3.
The Knights will visit Hibriten tomorrow. by John Mark Brook