Wolves first baseman Matt Kuster tags Bearsâ€™ pitcher Charlie Story at first on an attempted pick-off play. The play was not successful but the Wolves were, winning the game 2-0. Kuster had one RBI. Justin Keever pitched a complete game two-hitter, while striking out seven to record his second victory of the year. Jenny Walling / Lincoln Times-News
The Lincolnton Wolves defeated the visiting Bunker Hill Bears 2-0 on a brisk Tuesday night at Brookins Field.
Leadoff hitter Brian Ebert kickstarted the Wolves in the bottom of the first with an infield base hit.
The speedy third baseman advanced to second via a bad throw. Next batter Colby Burgin crushed a line drive up the middle to score Ebert for a 1-0 lead.
After a Justin Keever single, Matt Kuster connected to left scoring Burgin for a 2-0 lead.
The two runs was all they would need on this night with Keever on the mound. The 6 foot 1 pitcher was sensational all night, mixing a lively fastball with a nasty slider.
The combination of the two pitches led to pitching a complete game, two-hit shutout, while striking out seven Bearsâ€™ batters.
For Keever, the formula of success was simple.
â€œI was just trying to get ahead and make them hit my pitch. I was basically wanting to get a lot of ground ball outs and not give up any big hits,â€ he said.
Wolves head coach Bobby Martin was very pleased with his pitcherâ€™s performance.
â€œHe did a dominating job. He was in control the whole game. He only walked one and was just in control of the whole ballgame,â€ he said.
â€œI got a good rhythm tonight. My slider and fastball were my best pitches. Probably all the batters I struck out were on my slider away,â€ Keever said.
The Wolves were solid defensively committing only one error. They also made several stellar plays.
In the top of the sixth, rightfielder Dustin Weaver on an all-out sprint laid out to reel in the third out of the inning.
Shortstop Burgin was not to be outdone ranging to his right elevating in the air to snag the second out in the seventh.
Burgin, a senior, also led the Wolves at the plate going 2-for-3 with one RBI.
â€œIâ€™m not a powerful hitter, so I just see the ball and try to hit it as hard as I can and it finds the holes (in the defense),â€ Burgin said.
Matt Kuster was 1-for-3 with one RBI.
Martin was not surprised by Burginâ€™s play.
â€œHeâ€™s one of our captains. I expect it out of him and heâ€™s coming through. Itâ€™s not a surprise, I know he has the talent and the ability. He drove in a run in the first and then Kuster drove in a run and thatâ€™s all he (Keever) needed.â€
Ebert, Keever and Bradley Dalrymple each contributed to the win with one hit apiece.
Keever, who at one point retired 14 straight batters, believes the next week and a half are vital to their playoff shot.
â€œWe got to win Fridayâ€™s game. Then we also need to sweep both games next week because West and East Rutherford are undefeated, so we can secure one of the top three spots (a playoff spot),â€ he said.
The win inches the Wolves closer to .500 at 4-5 on the season and 2-1 in the Midwest 2A Conference. Keever improves to 2-3 on the season. Charlie Story picked up the loss for the Bears, despite striking out six Wolvesâ€™ batters.
Martin believes his teamâ€™s three-game win streak is building confidence.
â€œEvery game you win gives you more confidence. I think weâ€™re beginning to build. Theyâ€™re beginning to expect to win and thatâ€™s of course where you want to be, but itâ€™s still early,â€ he cautions.
North Lincoln fell at home to Bessemer City 5-2 Tuesday night.
Josh Belk picked up the loss pitching a complete game, while striking out five and walking six.
Leading hitters were Trent Hopkins who was 1-for-3 with a double and a RBI and Kyle Baker who was 1-for-2 with a sac fly RBI.
North Lincoln head coach Sean Andrews was not pleased with their hitting performance.
â€œWe swung at just about every pitch except for the ones that we needed to swing at,â€ he said.
The loss drops the Knightsâ€™ record to 3-6 on the season. They will host East Lincoln today.
Andrews is hoping for a more consistent effort against the Mustangs.
â€œWe got to come out and be consistently aggressive. We had good game against Highland Tech, then we lost today. Weâ€™re not playing consistent back-to-back games.â€
The East Lincoln Mustangs defeated the Berry Hill Academy Cardinals 10-0 Tuesday night.
Nick Harmon earned the victory for the Mustangs pitching three innings, striking out four batters and allowing only one walk.
Jake Black was just as solid on the mound. He allowed no hits and struck out three in two innings worked.
The Mustangs were led offensively by Shane Brackett. Brackett went 3-for-4 at the plate with a double and four RBIS. He also was a threat on the base paths swiping three bases.
Michael Griswald was 1-for-2 and was hit by pitches twice. Seth Alexander reached base every time up, going 1-for-1, being hit by a pitch and walking once.
Trent Hovis stole five bases for the green and orange.
â€œLack of errors and good pitching was the key to our success tonight. The ability to drive in runs when we were in scoring position was also a key factor,â€ Mustangs head coach Matt Neville said.
â€œThis game served as a good tuneup heading into the next North Lincoln game tomorrow,â€ he said.The win improves the Mustangsâ€™ record to 2-7 on the year. by John Mark Brooks