29ers hang on at Rutherford
Caldwell County Post 29 staved off a late rally by Rutherford County Post 423 to claim an 8-7 victory on Sunday at McNair Field in Forest City.
The 29ers were in control with an 8-3 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. Rutherford got a runner on base when Brock Helton walked and stole two bases. Dylan Parris then hit an RBI single to make it 8-4. After a walk by Trent Self, an error by Post 29 allowed Parris to score. This left runners on second and third with the tying run at the plate. TJ Fincher hit a two-run single to make it a one-run game with two outs. Head coach Brandon Banks then brought in John Austin to finish the game. Austin struck out the next batter to earn the save for Caldwell.
"We need to play nine innings of baseball every game," Banks said. "Tonight we only played seven innings. If we don't play all nine innings, somewhere down the line we're going to get beat."
Post 29 trailed 2-0 after the first inning, but when on to score the next five. Phillip Page scored on a wild pitch in the second and Austin drove in AJ Watson in the fourth. In the fifth inning, Aaron Moore double and later score on an error by Rutherford. Caldwell hit three doubles in the fifth inning. Austin Miller and Watson hit back-to-back doubles to lead off the inning and make the score 4-2. Page later hit an RBI double to score Watson.
After struggling in the first inning Sunday night, starting pitcher Luke Watts got in a rhythm and struck out 11 Rutherford batters. Overall, he gave up just one earned run on six hits.
The 29ers added its final three runs in the seventh inning. Colton Henthorne led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Moore and to third on a groundout by Trevor Beane. After a Miller walk, Watson hit an RBI single to score Henthorne. Two batters later, Austin hit a two-run single to score Miller and Watson to give Caldwell the 8-3 advantage before the rally by Rutherford.
With the victory, Post 29 remained undefeated in conference play at 3-0.