West Lincoln Rebelsâ€™ first baseman Dustin Hester attempts to get Mustang Tyler Wilson out at first in Thursdayâ€™s game. The Rebels went on to win the game 8-5 and will face the Lincolnton Wolves in the championship game of the Carolina Trust Easter Tournament. Jenny Walling / LTN Photo
The West Lincoln Rebels used timely hitting and solid relief pitching to beat the East Lincoln Mustangs 8-5 Thursday.
The game marked the beginning of the Carolina Trust Easter Baseball Tournament at Jonathan Brookins Memorial Field.
The Mustangs leaped out the blocks in the first inning. Trent Hovis, whoâ€™s been swinging a hot bat in his last five games, began the game with a single.
Hovis then promptly stole second and third to set up Jake Black. Black delivered driving in Hovis on a groundout.
Grayson Schram walked. Michael Griswald advanced Schram to third with a single on a hit-and-run play. A Dylan Anthony wild pitch scored Schram to give the Mustangs a 2-0 edge.
The Rebels answered the Mustangs first inning attack with one of their own in the second.
Sophomore Paul Finger crushed a ball to straight away center for a double. Zac Koehler and Jonathon Thomas both walked to load the bases for Daniel Scronce.
Scronce took full advantage stroking a line drive to left field to score Finger and Koehler and tie the contest 2-2.
After Seth Alexander got Thomas out via a run-down, a Dylan Anothony infield single allowed Scronce to score for a 3-2 Rebelsâ€™ lead.
Anthony struggled with his control on the mound allowing walks to Tyler Wilson and Hovis in the bottom of the second. Black singled to left which marked the end of the day for Anthony after only 1 1/3 innings worked.
Toby Lawerence replaced Anthony on the hill for the Rebels. Schram, the first batter he faced, walked, scoring Wilson. A throwing error scored Hovis to make the game 4-3.
East Lincoln pulled ahead of West 5-3 in the inning. Lawerence was replaced by Brandon Jones who was able to get out of the inning.
Alexander, the Mustangsâ€™ starter, ran into the same trouble that Anthony had in the top of the fifth.
A couple of Alexander walks after a Daniel Scronce bunt and Cole Reynoldsâ€™ fielder choice scored Scronce.
Alexander, who struck out five Rebels, was replaced on the mound by Schram with the bases loaded.
Brent Gates bunted, which scored Reynolds to deadlock the contest 5-5. After a Schram strikeout, Finger hit the ball deep to center scoring Anthony. A throwing error scored Jones putting the Rebels up 7-5.
Behind the pitching of Jones that would be all the Rebels would need to go onto victory.
Anthony added an insurance run in the seventh, homering in the opposite field.
Jones, the lefthander, picked up the victory for the Rebels working 4 2/3, while striking out four.
Rebels head coach Allan Chapman believed Jones settled his team down.
â€œHe does that a lot. He competes so well. Nothing rattles him, nothing fazes him. Heâ€™s somebody we have a lot of confidence in,â€ he said.
â€œI was pleased that we got a win just because we had taken six days off without practicing. To play through the sloppiness I was pleased.â€
Alexander suffered the loss for the Mustangs.
Leading hitters for the Rebels were: Anthony went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Scronce also went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Jones, Gates and Finger all were 1-for-4 with one RBI.
Leading hitters for the Mustangs were: Griswald went 2-for-3 and Schram went 1-for-2 with two walks and a RBI. Black went 1-for-4 with a RBI.
Several defensive gems were turned in by both teams. Griswald snagged an ankle-high line drive at first base to rob Scronce of a hit. Chris Smith for East showed excellent range in centerfield tracking down several deep fly balls.
Koehler, from behind second base, threw across his body to get Black by a hair at first.
The Rebels improve their record to 11-6 on the year and will move on to the championship game at 7 p.m. Friday against the host Lincolnton Wolves.
The Mustangs will play in the consolation game at 5 p.m. against the North Lincoln Knights. They are now 3-13 on the season.
Brian Ebertâ€™s slide into second knocks Alex Loftin down in the Wolves 12-1 win. Ebert stole second on the play. Jenny Walling / LTN Photo
Lincolnton vs. North
The Wolves got a dominating offensive effort and starting pitching by Colby Burgin to beat the North Lincoln Knights 12-1.
Seniors Justin Keever and Bradley Dalrymple both did damage in six-run first inning. Keever doubled knocking in two, while Dalrymple doubled to score one.
Justin Greene also got in the act crushing a line drive into right field to score two. Dustin Weaver flew out to score Hurt for a 6-0 lead.
The Wolves scored five more in the second inning, three of which came off wild pitches. Weaver knocked in his second of the game scoring Jose Leon after Leon stole third.
Brian Ebert singled to score Greene to put the Wolves up 11-0 through two innings.
In the third inning, Leon walked with the bases loaded to extend the lead to 12-0.
In the bottom of the fifth, T.J. Skidmore doubled scoring Michael Gibson to get the Knights on the board 12-1. But that was the only run North could muster and the game ended due to the 10-run rule.
Colby Burgin was in rhythm on the mound for the Wolves. Burgin mixed a curve ball and fastball to strike out eight Knight batters. Burgin allowed only four hits.
Leading hitters for the Wolves were: Keever who had two basehits with two RBIs, Dalrymple who went 2-3 with one RBI and Weaver who went 1-for-4 with two RBIs.
Leading hitters for the Knights were: Skidmore 1-for-2 with a RBI. Jacob Smith, Chris Hogue and Trent Hopkins each had one hit.
A defensive highlight was, second baseman Jeffrey Hurt made a sliding play between first and second, then threw it to first in time to get the Knights hitter. Evan Wise also caught Alex Loftin stealing in the first.
Lincolnton improves their record to 9-7 on the year. North Lincoln falls to 4-12.
The Wolves will look for revenge after having lost two one-run games to the West Lincoln Rebels. They will play in the championship game at 7 p.m. on Friday.by John Mark Brooks