SL baseball falls in high-scoring game
DEEP RUN — The South Lenoir varsity baseball team has had its opportunities in conference play, but wins have been elusive in 2019.
Thursday was another example, as the Blue Devils fell to West Craven 13-9 in a game where SL had the momentum early. South Lenoir (4-8, 2-7 Eastern Carolina 2A) led 8-6 headed into the sixth inning, but West Craven (8-7, 5-3) responded emphatically to give the Blue Devils their seventh loss in the past eight games.
In the skid, South Lenoir dropped a pair of one-run games and held leads in two others, including Wednesday’s 15-10 loss to Ayden-Grifton.
“Our approach to the plate is definitely getting better,” South Lenoir coach David Combs said. “We’re hitting baseballs a lot harder top to bottom and the freshman (Jon Howard) pitched his rear end off (Thursday). We’re giving up a big inning here and there and when we needed that big play, we haven’t been able to find it right now.”
After West Craven scored in the top of the first, an Everett Oliver RBI grounder and Luke Thigpen bases-loaded walk put South Lenoir ahead in the bottom of the frame. The Eagles tied it up again in the top of the second, but again the Blue Devils posted a pair of runs immediately after, this time from a Gavin Harrell fielder’s choice and Christopher Tyndall stealing home.
West Craven’s Cooper Overbey’s two-run double sparked a four-run third to put the Eagles back in front, but the Blue Devils picked up four of their own an inning later. A wild pitch brought home a run and Howard’s 3-run double put South Lenoir back up 8-6.
The Eagles took over in the final two innings with a combined seven runs, benefiting from four errors in the process. Thigpen’s RBI single in the bottom of the seventh brought the Blue Devils closer, but it wasn’t enough.
The Blue Devils close their schedule with a home game against Washington Tuesday, followed by road contests with Greene Central and North Lenoir. Combs said he has confidence in the team as the 2019 campaign is in its home stretch.
“If we play to our potential in a complete game and throw strikes, I believe we can beat anyone in our conference,” Combs said. “It’s tough on our boys — we’ve been right there and the effort’s definitely there. We’ve just been getting bad breaks.”