The Lincolnton Wolves held off the North Lincoln Knights 9-7 in a game that lasted into Wednesday.
Wolves pitcher Kenny Reed worked the final three innings, striking out four, allowing two earned runs for the win.
The Knights scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh. After cutting the lead to 9-7, they had the bases loaded, but Wolvesâ€™ third baseman Shane Brackett doubled up Michael Gibson at third base.
Lincolnton scored five runs in the fifth inning. Josh Belk, who had only given up one hit in the game, began struggling with his control and the Knights committed a couple of errors. The result forced North Lincoln head coach Sean Andrews to replace him.
â€œEvery time we got the lead, we didnâ€™t come out and pitch like we were with the lead. A couple of errors in the fifth inning really just opened it up for them,â€ Andrews said.
The Wolves walked four times and Jeffery Hurt, who dons a Superman tattoo, had a RBI-single. Kyle Snyder walked with the bases loaded for a RBI.
Lincolnton will face West Lincoln in tonightâ€™s championship game at 7:30 p.m. Head coach Cole Sigmon is pleased to be in the game, but was not happy with how his team played to reach it.
â€œThe kids were over there for five hours. Thatâ€™s kind of tough to have to sit there, sit there and sit there for both teams. Just to win, was a good thing,â€ he said.
â€œI wasnâ€™t real pleased with the way we played, but I was happy we won,â€ Sigmon added.
One thing Sigmon was pleased with was the huge turnout for both first-round games.
â€œThe turnout was great. The crowd and atmosphere were wonderful. It was just a great day to play baseball,â€ he said.
The first meeting between the two teams saw Lincolnton win in blowout fashion (9-1). Andrews was glad his team played better this time around.
â€œJosh pitched a heck of a game. He got the strikeouts, but unfortunately gave up too many walks,â€ he said.
â€œIt definitely was a turnaround from game one,â€ he added.
Hurt, Brackett and Nate Wright each singled. Dustin Weaver had a double for the Wolves.
Devin Borders went 2-for-3 with a double and a sac. fly RBI. Trent Hopkins also was 2-for-3 with a RBI-double. Alex Loftin, Kyle Baker, Ryan Pendleton, Jeremy Grove and Corey Walton all singled.
Belk worked four and two thirds, had eight strikeouts and gave up four earned runs.
â€œI expect it to be a good game. Itâ€™s a big rivalry and itâ€™s for the tournament championship,â€ Sigmon said.by John Mark Brooks