In a season where the West Lincoln Rebels had come out on the short end of the stick in one-run ballgames, the trend continued Thursday.
The game was decided in the eighth inning, but fortunately for the Rebels this time they were on the right side beating Shelby 5-4.
In the bottom of the eighth the Rebels trailed 4-3. With one out, senior Dustin Hester walked. Junior Paul Finger drove one to left center enabling Hester to score.
On the throw, Finger advanced to third base with the game deadlocked at 4. The Lions, as is a common strategy, intentionally walked Chris Henderson and Jake Watts to load the bases.
The move backfired as Jonathan Wise walked for the game-winning RBI.
West Lincolnâ€™s head coach Allan Chapman was full of pride how his team hung in there and earned the win.
“I`m just so proud of them. I told them at the end of the game losing all those one-run games it would be easy to lose that one, but they fought hard and they expected to win,” he said.
“Even when we were down, they expected to win that ballgame,” Chapman added.
The Winning pitcher was freshman Jake Watts (2-1) working only two-thirds of an inning. The loss went to Seth Canipe who worked three and two-thirds.
Henderson worked four and two-thirds and struck out three for the Rebels.
The Rebels were out-hit 10-3, but each one for West was timely. Finger, Daniel Scronce and Henderson each had a RBI. Wise singled.
Chapman feels Wise has progressed nicely as the season has gone on.
“Jonathan had a good week at the plate. He ended up 4-for-7 and playing very solid in the outfield. I`m real pleased with the way he`s playing right now,” he said.
Finger and Scronce are both hitting over .400 and are who Chapman calls â€˜the key to what we try to do offensively.â€™ The Rebels at one point lost four-of-five ballgames by one run.
Chapman didnâ€™t know how much longer his rah-rah speeches, built to boost team morale would last.
“We`ve been telling them we`re actually playing good baseball. When you lose five in a row, you don`t know if the kids are going to keep believing. They understand that one-run games are part of what makes you better. We feel like we haven`t been beat other than the Li ncolnton game. I`m just happy for them, that they`ve come through this adversity and matured,” he said.
The Rebels are 4-6 on the season with a 2-2 record in the Midwest 2A.
Shelby 001 110 01 â€”4 10 1
West Lincoln 120 000 02 â€”5 4 3
The Rebels knocked off Newton 9-5 Wednesday.
The winning pitcher was sophomore southpaw Ryan Rhodes who pitched a complete game, striking out 10 and allowing only one walk. Rhodes, who has impressed in the early-going, earned his first victory on the year giving up three earned runs.
In the second inning, Rebel Paul Finger came through with a bases clearing triple with a two out and the bases loaded. It was Finger`s second triple on the day.
Leading hitters for West Lincoln were: Jonathan Wise who went 3-for-4 with a RBI double, Daniel Smith who went 2-for-3 two RBIs, Finger who went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and Chris Henderson who went 2-for-4.
“He (Ryan) gave up some runs early, but he struck out seven after the third inning. As the game went on, he got a lot stronger and actually dominated after the third,” Chapman said of Rhodesâ€™ brilliant performance.
West Lincoln 052 200 0â€”9 11 3
N. Conover 122 000 0â€”5 7 1
by John Mark Brooks