The West Lincoln Rebelsâ€™ four-game winning streak came to an end Tuesday running into an undefeated Bandys Trojansâ€™ team.
The Trojans (12-0, 5-0) tied the game at one on a Matt Oaksâ€™ liner to left center. The next batter Tyler Rowe had the hit of the game, blasting a two-run homer to right center.
Entering the top of the fifth, the Trojans had only mustered three hits off freshman starter Jake Watts.
Senior first baseman started the sixth inning with a bang, crushing a ball over the left field fence onto the softball field.
Watts settled down and got the next two batters to fly out. After walking Blake Edmundson, an error in the Rebelsâ€™ outfield allowed the Trojans to keep the inning going.
Once again, Rowe played the role of hero. The leadoff man nailed one into left with the bases loaded scoring two and putting Bandys up 7-1.
The Rebels finally got to starter Rean Kijesky in the bottom of the sixth. After a Daniel Scronce walk, Paul Finger and Chris Henderson had back-to-back RBI doubles to whittle the lead to 7-3.
Watts hit a deep fly ball also into right center to score Jonathan Thomas, who was running for Henderson. The next batter Daniel Smith, as was the trend in the sixth, followed with a blast of his own into deep right scoring Hester.
The Trojans pulled Kajesky with bottom of West Lincolnâ€™s lineup coming up. After an Edmundson wild pitch, he recorded a strike out to end the pitch, leaving Smith stranded at third.
Bandys added an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Jordan Skinner, who had reached on error his previous at-bat, smoked a ball at third baseman Heath Cole.
Cole tried to get his body in front of the nasty hop, but was unable to allowing Cody Bolick to score for an 8-5 lead.
The Rebels, down to their last chance in the bottom of the seventh, had the tying man up to the plate. But the Trojans showed why theyâ€™re one of the top teams in the state, turning an unusual 3-6-1 double play to end the game.
It was another solid outing for Watts (3-2), but it will also serve as a lesson learned.
â€œHe did a great job. He kept them at bay for five innings and thatâ€™s all we can ask. I think he crossed up and threw the wrong pitch one time and gave up a base hit. That probably wouldâ€™ve got us out of the inning,â€ Rebelsâ€™ head coach Allan Chapman said.
Chapman felt the two homeruns probably shook Watts up, but he also felt he rebounded well from them.
â€œThen they hit the long ball and then the towering shot (Spakeâ€™s HR) probably shell shocked the freshman a little bit. I thought he handled it well coming back and shouldâ€™ve been out of it 4-1,â€ he said.
The Rebels out-hit the Trojans 11-8 in the game and couldâ€™ve had more.
â€œI felt like we out-hit them all night. Hester hit the ball three times right at people. We hit the ball hard, but thatâ€™s baseball. Thatâ€™s the way it works sometimes. Finally in the fifth, they started falling itâ€™s just a little too late,â€ Chapman said.
â€œWe got the tying run to the plate, but we got ourselves in such a big holeâ€”we couldnâ€™t get out of it,â€ Chapman said.
While he feels his team didnâ€™t capitalize on certain opportunities, Chapman also credited Bandys, especially for their solid defense.
â€œTheyâ€™re a good team. You have to give them a lot of credit. Theyâ€™re well-coached and play good defense. They ended the game on a 3-6-1 and you donâ€™t see that in high school,â€ he said.
Rowe led Bandys with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate with four RBIs. Skinner also went 2-for-4. Spake was 1-for-3 with one RBI and Oaks was 1-for-2 with a RBI.
Finger and Henderson both went 2-for-4 with a RBI apiece. Jonathan Wise was 2-for-3 with a RBI-double. Watts and Smith were each 1-for-3 with a RBI for West Lincoln.
Kijesky earned the win for Bandys working five and two-thirds and allowing only one earned run. Watts suffered the loss also working 5 and two-thirds, striking out six, allowing six hits and four earned runs.
The Rebels fall to 6-7 and will play Chase on Friday. The Trojans will host Lincolnton Friday.
Bandys 000 034 1â€”8 8 1
West Lincoln 000 104 0â€”5 11 2
by John Mark Brooks