VALDESE â€” Despite moments of offensive brilliance, costly defensive mistakes handed the West Lincoln Rebels baseball team its third loss of the season, 11-6 against the Draughn Wildcats on Monday.
The Rebels jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, after short stop Brett Huff drew a walk from Draughn starting left-handed pitcher Lucas Clarke and centerfielder Dalton Towery smashed an RBI double down the left field line.
Right fielder Chandler Jenkins executed a sacrifice bunt to move Towery to third, which West Lincoln starting pitcher Cameron High followed up with another RBI double, taking the pitch down the right field line to give the Rebels a 2-0 lead. The inning closed with a strikeout by left fielder Zack Smith and a line drive by catcher Derrick Braun that was caught in the air by Draughn third baseman Taylor Powell.
Just as quickly as the Rebels had built a two-run lead, the Wildcats took it away with four runs of their own in the bottom of the first.
Center fielder Tyler Powell rocked Highâ€™s first pitch to center field for a double. Right fielder Alex McGee drew a walk, the first of four walks in the bottom of the first, before Taylor Powell hit a pop up to Jenkins. Clarke drew another walk to load the bases for the Wildcats.
Tyler Powell was the first Wildcat to cross home plate after a wild pitch on a 2-2 count to short stop Logan Cook. Cook drew a walk on the next pitch to keep the bases loaded for Draughn.
High picked up a strikeout against designated hitter Will Buff for the second out of the inning but, with the bases loaded, walked John Austin which brought McGee home to tie the game 2-2.
Second baseman Ray Price took a 2-2 pitch to right field for a two-RBI double before catcher Vance Stilley bunted down the third base line to Rebel third baseman Nick Fisher for the forced out at third to end the inning.
The Rebels added one run in the top of the second to bring the score to 4-3.
Second baseman D.J. Dellinger drew a walk after first baseman Krishna Rana hit a pop fly to left field for the first out of the inning. Fisher took an 0-1 pitch to left field for a single before Huff flew out to centerfield and Dellinger was able to tag up at third and cross home.
The one-run deficit was erased in the bottom of the second as Draughn exploded for five runs.
High started the inning by striking out Tyler Powell with a curveball. McGee reached first on an error by the West Lincoln right fielder and Taylor Powell logged an infield single. With a 3-1 count, Clarke hit a shot to center field for a two-RBI single and a 6-3 lead for the Wildcats.
After Clarkeâ€™s at-bat, High was relieved from the mound by West Lincolnâ€™s Alec Johnson.
Johnson started out by walking Cook, and gave up a single to left field to Buff to load the bases.
With the bases loaded and one out, Johnson struck out Austin with four pitches for the second out of the inning.
Price hit a fly ball to left field that brought two more runs in before Stilley hit an RBI-single down the left field line to give the Wildcats a 9-3 lead.
Johnson struck out Tyler Powell to end the inning.
The Rebels scored their final three runs of the game in the top of the fourth. Rana and Dellinger both got on base with walks. Johnson attempted a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third, but the Draughn third baseman overthrew first base and Rana was able to cross home plate, leaving runners on second and third.
Dellinger crossed home two pitches later on a wild 1-1 pitch to Huff. Huff then hit an RBI-infield single to Draughnâ€™s short stop to put the Rebels down 9-6.
The Wildcats scored twice more in the bottom of the fifth.
The Rebels (1-3) travel to Kings Mountain today for a junior varsity-varsity double header. The varsity West Lincoln squad plays at 7 p.m. Kings Mountain was 1-1 headed into Tuesdayâ€™s game with Hickory after losing to Shelby 5-4 to start the season and defeating Burns 4-1 on Friday.
West Lincoln travels to Cherryville on Friday to being Southern Piedmont Conference play.