Justin Keever scores the game-winning run off Will Foxâ€™s double in the top of the eighth inning. Behind Keever, Kenny Reed leaps with excitement. Pedro Fonseca also applauds. Jenny Walling / LTN Photo
Justin Keever was named MVP of the Carolina Trust Tournament. Keever went 3-for-4 with six walks at the plate. On the mound, he worked eight innings and struck out six batters. Jenny Walling / LTN Photo
Coming into Fridayâ€™s Championship of the Carolina Trust Easter Tournament Lincolnton had lost two previous meetings to county rival West Lincoln.
With revenge on their mind the Wolves refused to let it happen a third time, winning 8-6 in eight innings.
Will Fox stroked a double to right center scoring Justin Keever for the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth, putting the Wolves up 7-6. It was the second time Fox has won a game for Lincolnton this year.
â€œIâ€™m just trying to help the team. We came into the game with a lot of momentumâ€” hopefully this will carry us,â€ Fox said of his big hit.
â€œI just come up in the right situation. All the guys hits the ball, Iâ€™m just lucky enough to win the game,â€ Fox said.
Bradley Dalrymple followed the big hit with one of his own with a double to left-center scoring Jeffery Hurt. The double served as an insurance run, putting the Wolves up 8-6.
The Rebels were unable to generate any kind of rally in the bottom of the eighth.
Keever, who was named MVP of the tournament, believed the championship win was a reflection of his teamâ€™s will.
â€œIt feels good. Everybody buckled down and beat them. Fox had a big hit. We all talked before the game as seniors we were not losing to them the last time weâ€™ll face them,â€ he said.
The Rebels showed a will to win too in the bottom of the sixth inning. A Chase Harbinson bunt scored Paul Finger. West added another run on Dustin Hesterâ€™s RBI walk to send the game into extra innings.
The Wolves had taken a two-run lead via a Fox single in the top half of the sixth.
In the top of the fourth, Lincolnton scored two runs, one by Colby Burgin and one by Keever, off wild pitches.
The runs gave them a narrow 5-3 advantage. The Rebels Daniel Scronce scored in the same fashion to bring them within one.
West Lincoln jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first two innings. The first run of the contest came on a fluke play.
Lincolnton shortstop Colby Burgin appeared to make a spectacular leaping catch. However, the ruling was made that Burgin dropped the ball when his glove hit on the ground when he landed.
Brandon Jones scored on the play. Scronce scored off a wild pitch for a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second. A Jonesâ€™ bunt scored Dustin Hester for their third run of the game.
Lincolnton battled back in the top half of the third, scoring three runs to tie the game 3-3. A Fox RBI single, Bradley Dalrymple RBI single and Justin Green RBI groundout accounted for the scoring.
Keever, who pitched a complete game while striking out six, believed it was a big victory for the teamâ€™s momentum going into the second half of the season.
â€œIf we lost our morale would have been down. We got to go out strong if weâ€™re going to make the playoffs,â€ he said.
Lincolnton head coach Bobby Martin was pleased with his teamâ€™s championship win.
â€œWe got down 3-0, but battled back and finally won the ball game. Itâ€™s great to win the tournament winning two ball games in two days. My kids played hard and the they deserve it,â€ he said.
The Wolves record is 10-7 on the year. The Rebels fall to 11-7.
Leading hitters for Lincolnton were: Fox who was 3-for-3 with three RBIs, Keever was 1-for-1 with five walks and Dalrymple who was 2-for-6 with two RBIs.
Leading hitters for West Lincoln were: Jones who was 2-for-4 with a RBI and Scronce was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
by John Mark Brooks