The Lincolnton Wolves knew Wednesdayâ€™s game versus Newton-Conover was going to be a dogfight. Despite their dismal record, the Red Devils are considered a scrappy baseball team.
The 12 innings the Wolves had to play to earn a key 12-8 victory provided further evidence that assessment was true.
Lincolnton received a shot in the arm as senior pitcher Kyle Snyder made his return to the mound. Snyder earned the win, working the final three and 2/3rds innings.
Despite not pitching for the last three weeks because of an arm injury, Snyder did not look rusty. The southpaw struck out four batters and allowed only one hit.
The last time Snyder had seen mound-time was April 8th versus Midwest 2A Conference leader Bandys.
â€˜Mr. Complete Gameâ€™ Dustin Weaver couldnâ€™t live up to his nickname, but he sure tried. Weaver worked eight and 1/3rd innings before yielding to Snyder.
The left-hander finished with eight strikeouts, gave up 10 hits and surrendered just one earned run.
Lincolnton senior Shane Brackett doubled to start off the top of the 12th inning. The Wolves then benefited from two Newton errors in the inning, giving them four runs.
While there were plenty of plays made, nobody turned in a bigger play than senior Jeffery Hurt. In the bottom of the ninth, the right-fielder threw out a Red Devil attempting to end the game.
In the eighth, ninth and 10th innings, Newton-Conover had men in scoring position but couldnâ€™t plate any runs.
â€œAlmost every inning, they had runners in scoring position, but my pitchers and defense did a great job of preventing them. Thatâ€™s my guys making plays,â€ Wolvesâ€™ head coach Cole Sigmon said.
Entering the fifth inning, the Wolves trailed 8-2. They responded by scoring six runs in three innings to send the game into extra innings.
â€œWe just scrapped and scrapped and came back and tied it in the seventh,â€ Sigmon said.
Hurt led the Wolves at the plate, going 3-for-6 with a triple and one RBI. Freshman Nate Wright went 2-for-7 with two RBIs. Brackett also went 2-for-7 with one RBI.
Defensively, the game was stellar for neither team, as Lincolnton committed five errors and Newton committed seven.
â€œMy pitchers did a good job and after the fourth inning we didnâ€™t give up any runs. The defense buckled down and we held them scoreless the rest of the way,â€ Sigmon said.
The Wolves (10-8, 6-5) will host Shelby today, weather permitting. Both Lincolnton and West Lincoln have 6-5 records, but the Rebels hold a slight edge for third place in the MW 2A by winning two-of-three.
â€œWe just have to keep winning. Itâ€™s a must-win. They all are from here on out,â€ Sigmon said.
Lincolnton 010 131 2 000 04â€”12 10 5
Newton 023 300 0 000 00 â€”8 14 7
by John Mark Brooks