The West Lincoln Rebels exploded for five runs in the first inning on their way to a 7-1 win over the Lincolnton Wolves varsity baseball team on Friday in Vale.
The win was the 20th in the career of West Lincoln senior right-hander Cameron High, who helped his own cause with two hits and an RBI.
“Cameron has been kind of the face of our team, with him and Derrick Braun and Brett Huff all being four-year starters,” West Lincoln head coach Allan Chapman said. “He’s been the one to go on the mound for all the big games. He’s such a tremendous asset to our team. He’s been good for us at the plate as well. For four years he’s done as good a job at the plate as he’s done on the mound. The thing that impresses me the most about him on the mound is just that he has always had to be the number-one guy. He’s never gotten the easy win. He pitches the toughest game every week, and that’s saying a lot that he still got to 20 wins.”
High pitched three innings with two strikeouts before being relieved by left-hander Chandler Jenkins. Jenkins closed out the game with seven strikeouts.
Huff drew a leadoff walk for West Lincoln in the bottom of the first from Lincolnton junior J.T. Bowden, moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a balk. Bowden struck out Dalton Towery for the first out of the inning before a wild pitch during Jenkins’ at-bat allowed Huff to score.
Jenkins was hit by a pitch and advanced to third on a ground ball single to short stop by High. Mack George plated Jenkins with a line drive and gave the Rebels a 2-0 lead.
Cody Dellinger padded the lead further with a two-RBI triple to right field and scored a run on a sacrifice fly by Braun for a 5-0 West Lincoln lead.
Bowden struck out Chris Callahan for the final out of the inning.
High hit a two-out RBI single to right field in the bottom of the second to give the Rebels a 6-0 advantage.
West Lincoln scored its final run in the bottom of the sixth. Braun hit a leadoff single, moved to second on a single by Lucas Brown, and found third on a fielder’s choice by Tommy Garwood. Grayson Carroll flew out to right field but a two-out walk to Ethan Bumgarner loaded the bases.
Jenkins was hit by a pitch, scoring Braun for a 7-0 West Lincoln lead, but Alec Johnson popped out in foul territory to end the inning.
“We’ve talked a lot about getting in good counts and hitting good pitches and scoring early,” Chapman said. “We were able to bat around in the first inning and that set the tone for the game. Any time you can play with a lead it makes the game a lot easier. But we’ve got so much experience on the field that we’re not really bothered if we have to play from behind. They don’t panic and they give themselves a chance to win.”
Lincolnton found late offensive success in the top of the sixth. Dayton Pfenning hit a leadoff single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Jenkins struck out Ethan Smith for the first out of the inning and Pfenning scored on a one-out RBI single by Bowden. Freshman Jordon Easter flew out to center field and Joe Goodson struck out to end the inning.