LINCOLNTON — Lincolnton third baseman Bradley Franklin ripped a one-out, two-run home run to right field on the first pitch he saw from North Lincoln freshman right-hander Paul Cochrane in the bottom of the first on Tuesday.
The Wolves maintained that lead for the next three innings, but a six-run fifth inning gave North Lincoln all the lift it needed on its way to a 9-2 victory in the third-place game of Lincolnton’s Easter tournament.
“Lincolnton jumped out early, hitting the ball,” North Lincoln head coach Jon Carpenter said. “But Paul got settled in and we were aggressive and smart on the basepaths.”
Seth McCorie led off North Lincoln’s six-run explosion in the fifth by reaching on a Lincolnton fielding error and stole second during Cody Hylton’s at-bat. Hylton hit an RBI single to right field to cut Lincolnton’s lead to 2-1.
Hylton then stole second and third during Daniel Thompson’s at-bat, which ended in a groundout to third base. Justin Norton drew a walk and then a one-out triple by Bryan Seymour plated two runs and gave North Lincoln its first lead of the game.
Designated hitter Jimmy Scott added another run with a single to left field and moved to second on a single up the middle by Zac Avery.
A sacrifice bunt by Nick Roberson advanced the runners to second and third and forced a pitching change by Lincolnton. The Wolves brought in J.T. Bowden in relief but three walks in a row loaded the bases and added two more runs. T.J. Carswell drew a two-out walk to load the bases and then walks to McCorie and Hylton added two runs. Thompson grounded out to short stop to end the inning.
Seymour pitched two innings in relief for North Lincoln and retired all six Lincolnton batters in a row.
Avery led North Lincoln’s nine-hit effort with three hits. Seymour and Scott both added two hits each.