By DAVID KEEVER
DENVER –– Never has the stat left on base said more about a baseball game than Thursday night at East Lincoln. While the Mustangs stranded 10 base runners in an 8-3 victory over West Lincoln at “The Corral,” it was the Rebels who were left shaking their heads at the end of the night.
West Lincoln left an amazing 15 runners on base, all in the first six innings, including leaving them loaded three times. That’s just three shy of the maximum eighteen possible left on through six innings.
While the game was a close and competitive contest for most of the night, it was not a thing of beauty.
Seven combined errors, eight hit batters, five walks and numerous wild pitches gave both teams plenty of opportunities to score more runs than they actually put up.
Cason Parrish drove in Chris Tomberlin to give the Mustangs the early 1-0 lead, but back-to-back RBI singles from Jake Bradley and Caleb Adams in the third inning put the Rebels on top.
It was the only lead of the night for West Lincoln (8-13-1, 5-8-0 Southern District 7 Athletic 2A). East Lincoln tied the game in the home-half of the third on Nick Savoie’s run scoring double. The Mustangs then took the lead for good in the fourth on a bases loaded walk to Austin Buchanan, and a sacrifice fly from Brett Wright.
Cody Dellinger’s RBI single in the fifth scored Caleb Adams to trim the Mustangs’ lead to 4-3, but that’s as close as the Rebels got.
East Lincoln added a run in the fifth on a Buchanan single, and then put the game out of reach in the sixth with three more. The key blow came on Chase Watson’s two-run double.
The Mustangs used three pitchers on the night. Starting pitcher Chris Cox went three-plus innings, and allowed two runs on six hits.
Carson Philemon relieved Cox and picked up the win. Philemon went 2 2/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits.
With two on and two outs in the sixth, East Lincoln head coach Chris Matile made the decision to go to his ace. Savoie came in and retired Matt Bumgarner to close the inning, and then pitched the game’s only 1-2-3 inning in the seventh.
“Our intention was to go without Savoie pitching,” said Matile.
Of course he would have liked to have a fresh Savoie for tonight’s regular season finale at Maiden.
The Mustangs (12-13, 10-3) have the chance to share the SD-7 crown with Bunker Hill with a win. A loss, and they and the Blue Devils (10-8, 9-4) will finish tied for second.
West Lincoln starter Kenny Stevens pitched into the fifth inning for the Rebels, allowing five runs on four hits.
Matile was pleased with his team’s win over its rival.
“Any time you can beat West Lincoln and an Allen Chapman-coached team, you have to be excited,” he said.