With the Midwest 2A Conference baseball race opening Tuesday, West Lincoln needs to regroup in a hurry.
The reeling Rebels lost their fourth game in a row Friday afternoon, falling 3-2 to visiting Cherryville.
â€œThe conference starts Tuesday, so it is not a good time to be struggling,â€ West Lincoln coach Alan Chapman said after his team lost its third one-run game.
After a 2-0 start to the season, West Lincoln lost to Bessemer City, dropped a pair to cross-county rival East Lincoln, and could not handle the Ironmen Friday amid some terrible weather conditions.
The temperature was in the 40s when the game started, and wind gusts were in the 20-25 mph range. And the wind never let up as the contest wore on.
Just as it was in the previous three losses, the Rebels (2-4) came up a play or two short.
â€œIt has been like one play in all four games that has made the difference,â€ said Chapman. â€œIt might be base-running, or defense, or a pitch.â€
Against the Ironmen, defense and bad pitches were the culprits. One of Cherryvilleâ€™s three runs was unearned, and another run scored on a wild pitch.
The Rebels had four errors for the game, all costly, compared to one miscue by Cherryville (2-3).
Cherryville led throughout the game, but West Lincoln twice cut the deficit to one. The Rebels blew a chance for a big inning in the second inning, getting only one run across after stringing together three consecutive hits.
Again in the third, West Lincoln loaded the bases with one out but could not score. Daniel Scronce was forced out at the plate on a fielderâ€™s choice for the second out, and freshman Jake Watts grounded out to end the inning.
Despite the missed chances, the game came down to the final out in the bottom of the seventh. Trailing 3-2, the Rebels got the tying run to third base in the person of Scronce.
Chris Henderson came to the plate with two outs, and he worked a 3-2 count against Cherryville reliever Cameron Lovelace. However, after fouling off several pitches, Henderson struck out on an off-speed pitch to end the game.
Scronce was one of the bright spots for West Lincoln in the game. The Rebelsâ€™ leadoff hitter went 3-for-3 and reached base in all four plate appearances. Scronce is now 7-for-8 in his last two games.
The Rebels outhit Cherryville 9-6 but had only two runs to show for it.
For the Ironmen, Trent Thornburg went 3-for-3 with a RBI. Jarred Fuller singled in a run in the second inning for Cherryville.
Lovelace pitched two scoreless innings in relief to save the win for starter Anthony Miranda. Henderson was the losing pitcher.
Johnathon Wise had a RBI double for West Lincoln in the second inning.
Chapman said the weather was a factor in the game.
â€œOur kids let the weather bother them more than Cherryville did. It was pretty bad, but you canâ€™t make excuses. Our kids want to do that from time to time,â€ Chapman said.
The Rebels open the Midwest 2A schedule Tuesday against Lincolnton at Jonathan Brookins Field, starting time 7 p.m.
Cherryville 110 100 0â€”3 6 1
West Lincoln 010 010 0â€”2 9 4
WPâ€”Miranda. LPâ€”Henderson. Sâ€”Lovelace.
by Mike Powell