Special to LTN
VALE â€” On Wednesday night, it was difficult for West Lincoln coach Allan Chapman to appreciate the little things.
Because it was the little things that did the Rebels in against Maiden.
The Blue Devils scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to slip past the Rebels 2-1 in a non-conference matchup.
â€œWe just didnâ€™t make a few plays there,â€ Chapman said. â€œWe had chances, didnâ€™t make the plays. You have to give them all the credit in the world.â€
Early, things did go well for the Rebels (3-4).
The Blue Devils (4-2) loaded the bases in the first inning with one out, but West Lincoln pitcher D.J. Dellinger stranded all three by coaxing a short fly to center and striking out Dillon Foster to end the inning.
In the bottom of the inning, Brett Huff tripled when his drive to deep center was lost in the lights by center fielder Dustin Hipps. Dalton Towery drove home Huff with a groundout to short to give the Rebels a 1-0 lead.
Maiden tied the game in the fourth when Jake Aaronâ€™s two-out single drove in Aaron Rudisill.
In the top of the fifth, Jason Gantt led off with a single. The Rebels then had Gantt picked off first, but he escaped in the rundown and reached second base when West Lincoln dropped a throw. One out later, Adam Houston greeted reliever Chandler Jenkins with a single to right, giving the Blue Devils a 2-1 advantage.
â€œWe picked them off and gave them a base and ultimately that was the run that beat us,â€ Chapman said. â€œDefinitely a game where base running and defense was the difference.â€
In the sixth, Huff led off with a walk, but was thrown out trying to steal. The Rebels managed just one more baserunner, but never threatened.
The only other scoring opportunity for the Rebels came in the third when Nick Fisher led off with a walk, but was picked off first. Huff followed with a walk and stolen base, but Rudisill was able to get Towery and Jenkins to end the threat.
The Rebels had just two hits, both in the first inning off Rudisill, a freshman making his first varsity start. Rudisill struck out six before giving way to Luke Setzer, who set down the Rebels in order in the seventh.
â€œHeâ€™s a freshman,â€ Maiden coach Caine Houser said. â€œHe did great last year in middle school and we just brought him up for varsity. He threw a lot of strikes and got ahead and did his job. He put a lot of trust in his defense tonight.â€
For the Rebels, Dellinger took the loss. He pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing five hits, one earned run and striking out two. Jenkins was solid in relief, striking out four and allowing two hits.
â€œWe threw well. We walked a couple, but it wasnâ€™t many,â€ Chapman said of his pitchers. â€œWe got ahead for the most part. We just werenâ€™t able to put them away.â€