Lincolnton`s Justin Keever had pitched well all night, but his great defensive play in the bottom of the seventh inning helped preserve a 5-4 win over the Bandys Trojans.
After Bandys leftfielder Mark Williamson led off the inning with a double, pitcher Zach Elliott was asked to sacrifice bunt Williamson to third. Elliott, however, bunted the ball just high enough that Keever was able to make a diving catch of the ball, then get to his feet and throw to second base quick enough to double off Williamson. Keever then struck out Brett Bernhardt to end the game, and give the Wolves their eighth straight victory.
Lincolnton(16-7,10-3), took the lead in the top of the first inning. Colby Burgin, Keever and Will Fox had consecutive one out walks. Centerfielder Bradley Dalrymple then drilled a double to left center, scoring two runs for the early lead.
Bandys(13-8, 7-6) answered with a run in the second on an RBI single by third baseman Johnnie Spake to make the score 2-1.
The Wolves added two runs in the top half of the fourth. Designated hitter Jeffery Hurt reached on an infield error and later scored. Burgin walked, stole second, and scored on Keever`s RBI single giving Lincolnton a 4-1 advantage.
The Trojans added a run in bottom of the fourth, then tied the game with two runs in the fifth. Bernhardt drove in Williamson and Elliott with a two out single, evening the score at four.
The Wolves regained the lead in the sixth. Burgin lined a one out double down the left field line. After Keever was intentionally walked, Fox singled to right center, scoring Burgin with the go ahead run.
Neither team scored in their next at bat, setting up Keever`s dramatic play in the seventh. The Wolves stranded 13 baserunners for the game, while the Trojans left eight on base. Bandys out hit Lincolnton 9 to 5, but allowed 11 walks and a hit batsman. Keever was the winning pitcher, while Elliott picked up the loss in relief.
With the win, the Wolves clinch second place in the Midwest 2A, and have a good chance of hosting a first round playoff game. Lincolnton will close out the regular season Thursday night when they host conference leading East Rutherford.
Lincolnton 2 0 0 2 0 1 0 – 5
Bandys 0 1 0 1 2 0 0 – 4
L: Keever and Wise.
B: Bernhardt, Elliott and Oaks.
R H E
Lincolnton 5 4 4
Bandys 4 9 1by David Keever