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Down to the wire with the best

CATAWBA–Bandys may not be dominating the opposition in the Midwest 2A Conference baseball race, but the Trojans are undefeated in league play and have a two-game lead near the halfway point.
The Trojans are on top thanks to their ability to win tight games. Friday night was another example as Bandys edged Lincolnton 7-6 in 10 innings.
Bandys is now 6-0 in the conference and 13-0 overall, and the Trojans` margin of victory in all six league games is a combined eight runs. Five of their wins have been by one run.
Jordan Skinner`s walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th gave Bandys the win over the Wolves, who lost their third in a row to fall to 3-3 in the conference, 7-6 overall.
It was a difficult loss for Lincolnton, which rallied from an early 5-0 deficit and played the unbeaten Trojans on even terms most of the night.
Skinner hit a pitch from Lincolnton reliever Shane Brackett over the fence in center field near the 360-foot sign, ending a game that had been tied 6-6 since the fifth inning. The starting pitcher for Bandys, Skinner went 4-for-5 with four RBI to lead an 11-hit Bandys attack.
The well-played game featured sparkling defense from teams and solid relief work from Lincolnton`s Brackett and Bandys` Blake Edmondson. Brackett spelled Lincolnton starter Kyle Snyder in the third and gave up only two runs over seven innings. Edmondson came on in the sixth and pitched shutout baseball over the final five innings, yielding one hit while striking out six.
As for defense, Lincolnton played error-free baseball and Bandys had one error. This was the same Lincolnton team which had committed 12 errors in its previous two games.
Among the individual standouts on defense were Snyder and center fielder Cody Bolick of Bandys. Snyder, who moved to left field after departing the mound in the third inning, made two standout plays. He threw out a runner at the plate in the fifth inning to complete a double play and made a diving catch in the ninth to rob Kelly Johnson of an extra-base hit.
Bolick made a key play in the top of the 10th inning. Lincolnton got a runner aboard with two outs when Nate Wright was hit with a pitch. Trevor Scott, Wright`s substitute runner, stole second base to move into scoring position.
The next batter, Jeffrey Hurt, singled sharply to center field, and Scott challenged Bolick`s arm by attempting to score from second. Bolick threw a strike to the plate and catcher Matt Oaks tagged out Scott on a play that was not close.
The game did not start out like an extra-inning affair. Bandys rocked Synder for five runs in the bottom of the first inning, using Snyder`s control problems and timely hit to break on top. The key hits were Bolick`s two-run single to left and Skinner`s bases-loaded three-RBI double to left center.
However, the Wolves chipped away with two runs in the second and two more in the third. In the fifth, Lincolnton scored two runs to take a 6-5 lead. Bandys tied the score in the bottom of the fifth on Edmondson`s single, and the score remained knotted until the 10th.
For Lincolnton, Hurt had three hits in five at-bats and knocked in a run. Justin Green, the Wolves` No. 8 hitter, went 3-for-4 with a RBI.

Justin Green went 3-for-4 to lead the Wolves at the plate. Jeffrey Hurt went 3-for-5 with one RBI versus Bandys. Chris Dean / LTN Photo
by Mike Powell

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