MAIDEN — The West Lincoln Rebels varsity baseball team started off Friday’s nonconference clash with the Maiden Blue Devils the right way — a leadoff double in the top of the first inning by short stop Brett Huff and a sacrifice fly by first baseman Chandler Jenkins put the Rebels ahead 1-0.
But the Rebels didn’t score again until the top of the sixth and the Blue Devils scored in the first, second and fifth innings to take a 5-2 victory.
“We had three hits spread out through about 20 outs,” West Lincoln head coach Alan Chapman said. “We gave them two or three runs. You have to credit Maiden, they swung the bats well.”
Maiden scored its first run in the bottom of the first with two outs. Randal Ortiz grounded out to third and Luke Setzer grounded out to first but catcher Aaron Rudisill hit a double to right field and scored on a shallow single to left field by third baseman Jake McRee.
Maiden’s Kyle Kelly drew a walk but left fielder Adam Houston flew out to West Lincoln right fielder Chris Callahan to end the inning with runners on first and second.
Maiden took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second, and again scored its run with two outs. West Lincoln right hander Alec Johnson walked Landon Cox but the struck out Matt Fowler for the first out of the inning. Second baseman Josh Booker bunted back to Johnson for a groundout but a triple by Ortiz to left field that barely made it past the glove of West Lincoln’s Ethan Bumgarner brought Cox home for the score.
Setzer grounded out to second to end the inning.
Johnson exited after two innings with three hits, two walks and a strikeout. Right-hander Dalton Towery pitched the next three innings and left-hander Jenkins closed out the game in the bottom of the sixth.
“Pitching was solid,” Chapman said. “Pitching is going to be the key to our success. We have several arms that can get people out. But when you make mistakes on routine outs and you give them free bases, you don’t help yourself. You put your pitchers in a position where they have to be perfect.”
Maiden took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the third. Kelly drew a two-out walk and scored when he slid under a tag by West Lincoln catcher Derrick Braun after a double down the right field line by Houston.
Towery struck out Cox to end the inning.
Maiden scored another run in the bottom of the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Houston.
The Rebels added their final run in the top of the sixth. Huff drew a leadoff walk and moved to second when Jenkins drew a one-out walk, prompting Maiden’s coaching staff to move Ortiz to the mound.
Ortiz walked West Lincoln designated hitter Cameron High to load the bases and then threw a wild first pitch to Johnson that allowed Huff to score.
Johnson struck out and second baseman Cody Dellinger hit a groundout to second to end the inning.
Maiden scored again in the bottom of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Ortiz.