AYDEN — West Craven snapped Ayden-Grifton’s five-game winning streak Friday with a 6-0 win that put the Eagles into a first-place tie in the Eastern Carolina 2A with the Chargers.
West Craven’s Shane Bland gave up only two hits in the game while striking out nine Chargers to earn the shutout win.
“We came out and played hard as a team,” Bland said. “We got two runs early and held onto that lead the whole night. We hit the ball well, played solid defense and did everything we had to do to win this game.”
Logan Allen and Trent Casey had first-inning RBIs to put West Craven on the scoreboard.
“When everyone plays excited and comes out motivated, we can do some great things,” West Craven coach Michael McKeel said. “I challenged the team to play hard. … Tonight, we came out and played very well on offense and defense. Our pitcher also went lights out for us too.”
The Chargers struggled to do anything offensively. Bland kept Ayden-Grifton hitless through the first three innings and struck out six. Brandon Benfield collected the first hit for A-G with a double to right centerfield.
The Eagles added another run in the fourth when Jared Hodges had an RBI.
A-G coach Corey Skinner praised Bland’s effort for West Craven.
“We ran into a good pitcher tonight. He threw us off balance and we never recovered,” Skinner said. “They beat us from the first pitch to the last pitch. They were better on the mound, on the field, and in the batter’s box.”
With the win, West Craven moved into a tie for first place with Ayden-Grifton. Both coaches took time to reflect on the season so far as each team has already played each of their conference opponents this season.
“This league is wide open,” McKeel said. “We have to take care of each game at a time. You cannot take any of these teams for granted and it will be a battle until the very end of the season.”
Skinner said, “Every day is a new day. These are solid opponents who are not going to give you a win. And whether you have to win 99-98 or 1-0, you will still have to go out there and find a way to win each and every game going down the stretch.”
West Craven 6, Ayden Grifton 0
R H E
Eagles 200 100 3 6 8 1
Chargers 000 000 0 0 2 2