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Big fourth inning costs Wolves against Ironmen in SPC play

KEN BRADLEY
Special to LTN
CHERRYVILLE — Most hotels don’t have a 13th floor because it is considered unlucky.
The past two games, the fourth inning has been the Lincolnton baseball team’s nightmare, and while getting rid of that inning might provide a quick fix for the Wolves, coach Cole Sigmon knows that’s not the solution.
Cherryville broke open a tight game with 13 fourth-inning runs to blow past the Wolves, 15-2, in five innings Friday night.
On Tuesday, Lincolnton gave up 10 runs in the fourth inning in a loss to Lake Norman Charter. The Wolves dropped to 2-5 overall and 1-2 in the Southern Piedmont Conference.
Cherryville has scored 26 runs in its past two games — both wins — to improve to 2-5 overall and 2-1 in the conference after dropping its first five games of the season.
“The past two ballgames, we’ve given up (23) runs in the fourth inning. We’ve made about eight or nine errors in the fourth inning,” Sigmon said. “We’re in the ballgame until then.”
Indeed that was the case Friday.
Cherryville took a 1-0 lead in the first when Dillon Harris scored with two outs when the Wolves misplayed a pop up in short right field.
The Wolves bounced back in the third inning as Jeffery Campbell walked and Jaden Angle followed with a bunt single. Jacob Hoover singled home Campbell to tie the game and Angle scored on a wild pitch to give the Wolves a 2-1 lead.
Things turned in the third inning. Lincolnton starting pitcher Zach Wells walked the bases loaded and, with two outs, walked Spencer Stamey to tie the game 2-2. J.T. Bowden relieved Wells and got the final out without further damage when right fielder Chase Burns made a sliding catch in right.
But it was the fourth inning when things really unraveled for the Wolves.
Cherryville sent 18 batters to the plate against three Lincolnton pitchers, collected 11 hits, 13 runs — six with two outs — and five players scored two runs apiece in the inning. Throw in several miscues in the field and the game got out of control quickly for the Wolves.
For the Ironmen, Jonathan Carpenter was 2 for 3 with three runs and four RBIs, while Dillon Harris was 3 for 3 with three runs scored and Zack McNeely and Stamey both drove in a pair of runs.
“After a  game like that and a game like we played Tuesday, let’s just say this hasn’t been a real good week,” Sigmon said. “We made way too many mistakes, mental and physical. If we don’t fix the mistakes, this is going to be a long year.”
Angle, Hoover, Campbell and Ethan Smith had singles for the Wolves, while Austin Duncan belted a second inning triple.
The Wolves will try to straighten things out Tuesday at home against East Lincoln.
In the meantime, Sigmon said the Wolves have plenty to work on.
“Everything,” he said. “Everything.”

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