North Lincoln hung on for a 9-8 victory over Bessemer City, redeeming themselves after an 11-1 loss to the Jackets in their first meeting.
The Knights scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth, taking a 9-5 lead. Devin Borders had a RBI-double, Alex Loftin added a RBI-single and Trent Hopkins had a sac.- fly RBI in the inning.
In its final at-bat, Bessemer City scored two runs via an outfield error. A second-consecutive error cut the lead to one before senior reliever Loftin recorded a strikeout to end the game.
North Lincoln was up 4-3 in the top of the sixth when Devin Wilsonâ€™s two-RBI double gave the Yellow Jackets a one-run lead.
Loftin (1-2) threw one inning and a third, struck out one, gave up three unearned runs and allowed two hits in earning the victory in relief of starter Josh Belk.
Devon Shuford was the losing pitcher.
Belk worked five and two thirds, struck out seven, walked four and scattered five hits in a no-decision.
Chris Hogue, Borders and Belk all went 2-for-3 to lead North Lincoln at the plate. Andrew Melton went 1-for-2 with three runs scored, while Clay Kiser went 1-for-2 with a homer and two runs scored.
Trent Hopkins, Kyle Baker, Chris Hogue, Borders, Loftin all had RBIs for the Knights.
For the Jackets, Wilson went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, Zack Williams went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and Trey Blake also went 2-for-4. Chase Beam also had two RBIs for the Jackets, while Blake and Williams each had one.
Knights head coach Sean Andrews knew how important beating the Yellow Jackets was.
â€œItâ€™s a situation where we controlled our destiny. If we donâ€™t beat them, our playoff status wouldâ€™ve been more up in the air. Each game that we win, it gets us closer to making the playoffs and making a run,â€ he said.
Despite the win, in a disturbing trend, the Knights continue to allow teams to stay in games they seemingly have locked up due to errorsâ€”something Andrews insists must change.
â€œWe just have to execute when the game is on the line. We made some good plays early in the game in the field. We just need to stay consistent throughout the entire game,â€ he said.
With plenty of confidence in tow, after back-to-back victories, the Knights will be back in action Thursday at South Iredell.
â€œIt has to be motivating for our kids. I knew they wanted to show Bessemer City we were better than the first time we played and show them we can compete and that we donâ€™t bow down,â€ Andrews said.
by John Mark Brooks