After losing to the West Lincoln Rebels 9-4 in the Easter Tournament Championship game, the Lincolnton Wolves were looking for some revenge.
More than revenge, the Wolves were just looking for a win. Having lost four straight games, they knew how important Fridayâ€™s Midwest 2A game was.
The Rebels did too. Down 6-1, West Lincoln rallied to score seven runs for an 8-6 win Friday.
Junior Chris Henderson blasted a two-run homer over the left field fence, giving the Rebels a 7-6 lead in the bottom of the fourth.
Henderson, who was in the hole, had no idea what pitch was coming.
â€œAnything could be coming at that point (0-2). I was looking for anything across the plate and swing. It felt great, but it felt better to pull ahead in the game,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™m glad we pulled this one out tonight. This was a big win for us and we need to keep winning.â€
Two batters later, Dustin Hester, who missed the Easter Tournament Championship game, lined one into center field, scoring Jonathan Wise for an insurance run.
Lincolnton wasnâ€™t finished fighting. In the top of the seventh, the Wolves had visions of repeating their 2-1 comeback victory in the bottom of the seventh in their first match-up against the Rebels.
Derrick Boggs, who had only given up one hit so far in the game, walked two of the first three Wolves he faced in the seventh. Rebelsâ€™ head coach Allan Chapman brought in freshman southpaw Jake Watts with the winning run at the plate.
Watts came through, getting Kyle Snyder and Jeffery Hurt to fly out ending the game.
â€œI was a little bit nervous, but Chris told me to just calm down and throw the ball,â€ Watts said. â€œI just threw strikes and my team helped me up a little bit. I wanted Derrick to finish it up, he did an awesome job.â€
In the bottom of the third, down 6-1, Wise sent one into center. Despite a great effort by senior Dustin Weaver (laying out) to catch the ball, Wiseâ€™s double scored junior Paul Finger.
After Hester walked, Watts lined one into center, scoring Wise and Hester. The timely hit cut the Wolvesâ€™ lead to 6-4.
Lincolnton benefited from three West errors in the first inning. Senior Matt Kusterâ€™s RBI sandwiched Weaver and Matt Huss scoring via errors, for a 3-0 lead.
Weaver scored freshman Nate Wright, who had doubled, on a gapper into right field in the top of the second. Senior Will Fox scored Weaver, extending the lead to 5-1.
Lincolntonâ€™s early runs forced Rebelsâ€™ starter Henderson out of the game after only working two and a third.
Boggs replaced Henderson, giving up only one hit and allowing no runs in four innings for the win. Watts picked up the save.
Kenny Reed suffered the loss for Lincolnton, allowing three earned runs.
Wolvesâ€™ head coach Cole Sigmon credited the Rebels for doing a good job at the plate.
â€œThey hit it. I thought we made a couple of pretty good pitches and they would reach out there and hit it. And they did a good job putting the ball in play all night long. We hit the ball early, they made some errors, and we took advantage of it. Then we just quit hitting,â€ he said.
â€œI thought we had them in some counts where we needed a strikeout and we didnâ€™t get it,â€ he added.
The Rebels committed four errors in the game, three in the first.
â€œI donâ€™t know if it was the last time playing Lincolnton for some of our seniors or we just didnâ€™t come to play. I donâ€™t know the answer. We never panicked and a lot of that comes from our senior leadership (Dustin and Daniel),â€ Chapman said.
Chapman felt the lone run they scored in the first came back to help them a great deal.
â€œWe felt like we could score six, but we just wanted to make sure we got a couple early. We were fortunate, I think they gave us one back in the first. Then we got back in it in the big inning. Iâ€™m very proud of how we reacted to the adversity,â€ he said.
Hester went 2-for-3 with a RBI to pace the Rebels. Watts and Finger both went 2-for-4. Watts had two RBIs. Wise was 1-for-2 with a RBI-double and two walks.
Wright and Weaver both were 1-for-3 with a RBI apiece to lead the Wolves. Fox was 1-for-2 with a walk and was hit by pitch. He also had a RBI. Kuster had a RBI and Justin Green was 1-for-3.
Lincolnton drops to 7-8, 3-5 MW 2A with the loss. West Lincoln is now 7-8, 3-4 MW 2A.
Lincolnton 321 000 0â€”6 5 2
West Lincoln 104 300 xâ€”8 8 4
Right–handed relief pitcher Derrick Boggs pitched four innings and only gave up one hit. It was Boggsâ€™ first victory of the season. Jake Watts earned the save. Chris Dean / LTN Photoby John Mark Brooks