HANCEVILLE - It was a back-and-forth game between the West Point Warriors and the Hanceville Bulldogs. There were eight errors in the game between both teams, but West Point overcame their sloppy defense by coming up big on offense late to defeat Hanceville, 7-5.
Hanceville struck first in the bottom of the first. After striking out Alex Campbell and Branen Hurst to start off the game, Sam Briehn hit Isaac Holmes on the first pitch, then Dalton Rice lined a single past Cameron Bates to put Hanceville in business with two outs. Kaine Yates hit a ground ball to Levi Allred, who threw it wild and past Rylan Jones at first, allowing Holmes to score to put Hanceville up, 1-0.
Jones got the second inning started for West Point with a single to right field. He moved to second on a ground out by Kolton Easterwood. Briehn reached on a throwing error by Campbell, and that allowed Jones to score to tie the game at one.
Hanceville countered in their half. T.J. Kubia led off with a single to left field. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Mark Dyer, and then to third on a single to right field by Josh Stanley. One out later, Hurst reached on an infield single, driving home Kubia to give the Bulldogs the lead again, 2-1.
It went back and forth in the fourth inning. West Point got the inning started with a leadoff walk by Chance Martin. Jones then reached on an error by the right fielder Holmes after he dropped a fly ball. Easterwood reached on a bunt single to load the bases for Briehn, who reached on another error by Holmes, and Martin wound up scoring on the play. One out later, Matt McDonald hit a sacrifice fly to give the Warriors a 3-2 lead.
Hanceville took advantage of some sloppy Warrior defense in their half. Dyer reached on a throwing error by Allred. Stanley then hit a bloop double in front of the right fielder, putting runners on second and third with no outs. After striking out Campbell, Briehn was relieved by Blake Diestelow. Hurst gave Diestelow a great battle, making him throw nine pitches, and on the 10th one, he hit a sacrifice fly to drive home Dyer to tie the game. Holmes then reached on a dropped fly ball by Noah Allison in center field, which allowed Stanley to score to give Hanceville a 4-3 lead.
The lead-swapping did not stop there. Hunter Persall led off the West Point fifth with a walk, then Allred hit a single into left field. They both moved to third and second, respectively, on a Cruce balk. Allison tied the game with a sacrifice fly, then Easterwood added one of his own with two outs to give West Point a 5-4 lead.
A one-out triple by Cruce put Hanceville in position to tie the game in their half of the fifth. But Diestelow was a strike-out machine, striking out Josh Loggins and Dyer, to get out of the inning. He added two more in the sixth as he worked around an error by Bates.
West Point added some insurance runs in the seventh. Allison drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a wild pitch by Campbell, and scored on an RBI triple to right center by Martin and Jones drove him in with an RBI ground out to give them a 7-4 lead going into Hanceville's final at-bats.
Yates lined a one-out single into left field to start a rally for the Bulldogs. Then Cruce reached on an infield single. Kubia cut the Bulldog deficit to just two with an RBI single, driving home Yates. Easterwood relieved Diestelow and got the final two outs, striking out Stanley, to end the game.
Briehn went three-and-a-third innings, giving up five hits and three runs, two of them earned, walking none and striking out four. Diestelow went three innings, allowed four hits, two runs, one of them earned, walked none and struck out six. And Easterwood pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up nothing while striking out one. Martin went 2-of-3 with an RBI, a single and a triple. Easterwood, Allison and Jones all added a hit and an RBI. McDonald added an RBI of his own. Allred added two singles. Jones scored three runs. Allison scored two. Martin and Persall each scored one. West Point improved to 2-4 on the season. They will travel to Lawrence County Tuesday afternoon.
Gaiven Cruce went four-and-a-third innings, giving up five runs, three of them earned, on six hits, walking three, and striking out one. He went 2-of-4 with a triple and a single. Kainen Cruce went one-and-two-thirds innings, allowed no runs on one hit, walked none and struck out two. Campbell allowed one hit, two runs, walked one and struck out none in his only inning of work. Kubia went 2-of-3 with an RBI and two singles. Hurst went 1-of-3 with two RBIs and a single. Stanley added two hits, and Rice and Yates each had one. Holmes, Kubia, Dyer, Stanle, and Yates all scored a run for Hanceville, who fell to 4-2 on the season. They will look to get back on the winning side on Thursday against Vinemont at 5 p.m.
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