The East Lincoln Mustangs took an early 4-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning and cruised to an 8-1 victory over North Lincoln Thursday night.
A big reason for their comfortable win was Seth Alexander (3-1). The right-hander threw a complete-game three-hitter while striking out five. He also walked five.
Kyle Baker suffered the loss, working three innings, allowing four hits and four earned runs.
It was a big day for Mustangsâ€™ freshman leadoff man, Jesse Guice. Guice went 2-for-3 with two doubles, a walk, RBI and scored two runs.
East Lincolnâ€™s head coach Matt Neville said heâ€™s come to expect such play.
â€œHeâ€™s (Jesseâ€™s) just been strong all season. As a ninth-grader, you would never expect to get the quality of play as heâ€™s demonstrated all year. Not only did he do it at the plate, but he also had three great plays in the field,â€ he said.
â€œHeâ€™s very professional. The mentality he has as a ninth-grader is one you would want to see in a senior,â€ Neville added.
Junior Greyson Schram went 1-for-3 with a two-RBI double to his credit, along with a run scored.
Jesse Cadenhead (0-for-1) had a sacrifice, two RBIs and two walks. T.J. Chapman went 1-for-3 two RBIs.
Chris Hogue was responsible for the lone Knightsâ€™ run of the game with a RBI-double.
Alex Loftin, Trent Hopkins, and Josh Belk singled rounding out the Knightsâ€™ hit total.
The Mustangs improve to 11-8, 5-4 in the Big South 3A Conference with the win.
Neville was happy to send his seniors out with a win versus North.
â€œItâ€™s good for us to beat a Lincoln County rival and probably our biggest rival. Itâ€™s a good way to send our seniors out versus North Lincoln in their career,â€ he said.
â€œIt helps add momentum moving into the grind of finishing up conference play,â€ he added.
Knightsâ€™ head coach Sean Andrews feels one play, in particular, was key in the game.
â€œWe came out and he walked a couple in the first, but he got a strikeout. Then Cadenhead (Jesse) caught Alex (Loftin) trying to steal,â€ he said.
â€œAfter that, we were just flat. That took away some of our momentum. We had a big week with conference and a late night the night before. It was just a long week,â€ Andrews added.
For Alexander, who has battled through an injury-plagued season, the win served notice heâ€™s regaining his full strength.
â€œWeâ€™ve been bringing him along slow, so this was a big outing for Seth. This was the first time he was able to throw for an extended period and weâ€™re hoping itâ€™s going to help us out in our last five conference games,â€ Neville said.
Andrews credited a double-squeeze play as another play that deflated his team.
â€œThey played good defense and they came out with a fury. They wanted the game and Neville (Matt) pulled a double squeeze on us. That took the air out of our balloon and at that point it was 4-0 in the second and we just couldnâ€™t come back from that,â€ he said.
North Lincoln 000 100 0â€”1 4 0
East Lincoln 041 300 xâ€”8 7 1
by John Mark Brooks