By RYAN HERMAN
One big inning for an opposing team this season has usually done West Lincoln in, but against Lincolnton the Rebels made an exception.
Chandler Jenkins went 4-for-4, Cody Dellinger homered on the game’s first pitch and the Rebels bent but didn’t break as they knocked off the Wolves 8-5 on Friday night.
Lincolnton scored all five of its runs in the fourth inning after falling behind 3-0. But where West Lincoln had failed to get up after letting teams claw their way back in this season’s games prior to Friday’s, it didn’t this time around.
“That’s been the story of our season –– the big inning. We played good for six innings, played real good, then we just had a bad inning. Fortunately tonight it didn’t beat us,” West Lincoln coach Allan Chapman said. “It’s been costing us games, but we were able to hit it enough to cover that.”
The Rebels (6-6, 4-4 Southern District 7 Athletic 2A) immediately jumped on Lincolnton starter Adam Campbell, as Dellinger sent the right-hander’s first offering well over the right field fence.
The homer started a three-run first for West Lincoln, which sent eight to the plate and also got a timely two-out, two-run double off the bat of Jake Bradley.
Campbell then settled in, yielding just one more hit –– a single by Jenkins in the third –– until the fifth.
Rebels starter Sam High was unhittable through three, but that ended starting with the fourth.
Jordon Easter began a string of three consecutive hits with a single up the middle, and Bradley Franklin cleared the bases with a two-run double to put the Wolves right back in it.
High then hit Joe Goodson, and allowed T.J. Queen to reach on a failed fielder’s choice to load the bases for Mac Harris, whose sac fly to center field scored one.
Campbell then singled home a run before High struck out Quinlan Turner and Dayton Pfenning to end the frame.
But more damage was done than the 5-3 deficit on the scoreboard.
High took a hard-hit ground ball by J.T. Bowden off of his back foot, which followed Easter’s base knock. After several warm-up pitches and some hobbling around, High chose to stay in, but the fourth marked the end of his night.
“He’s hurt pretty good,” Chapman said. “He’s a competitive kid and he wants to pitch, but I probably should have got him out right then.”
West Lincoln tied it in the fifth on back-to-back two-out RBI doubles by Jenkins and Ashton Rana, then retook the lead in the sixth on Charles Mack George’s head’s up base running and Jenkins’ fourth base knock of the night.
George walked to start the frame, then took second when no one decided to cover the bag. The throw down from the catcher Bowden sailed into center field, so George headed for third. Queen picked up the ball in center, and his throw to third was wide of Franklin, allowing George to score.
After the errors Lincolnton coach Cole Sigmon put Bowden on the mound –– Campbell was pulled in favor of Mac Harris in the fifth –– and with two away Jenkins made it 7-5.
“We scrapped around and got five runs, then we go out there and give them two. … That’s baseball,” said Sigmon, whose team lost its fifth straight. “Right after you score five, then you’ve got to go back out there and make a statement and say, ‘You’re not going to get (anymore), we’re taking control,’ but we don’t take control.
“That’s just the way it is (for us) right now.”
A wild pitch allowed George to score the final run of the game in the seventh. He reached when he was hit with a pitch.
Alec Johnson took over for High to start the fifth, and he did his job. The hard-throwing righty struck out seven, worked around two errors and a pair of walks, and didn’t give up a hit until Goodson singled with two down in the bottom of the seventh.
The seven strikeouts –– Johnson struck out the side in the seventh –– after a big fourth inning reminded Sigmon of his team’s offensive struggles throughout the year.
Johnson went three innings in the win, and also worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh and first and second with nobody out in the fifth.
“That’s what we haven’t been able to do –– we haven’t been able to stop innings, shut innings down, but that one we were able to,” said Chapman, referring to the fifth. “Obviously in the fourth inning we were not.”
Dellinger went 2-for-4 and scored two runs, and George went 1-for-2 and benefited from a walk, a hit-by-pitch, two stolen bases, two wild pitches and two errors while on the bases. Matt Bumgarner singled in the sixth and scored, and Parker Chapman singled in the sixth.
No one had more than one hit for Lincolnton (1-9, 1-7). Harris pitched one-third of an inning and gave up two runs in the loss. Campbell allowed five earned runs on seven hits, walked two and struck out four.
High’s final line was five earned runs on four hits, one walk, two hits and four strikeouts.