West Limestone baseball came into Friday’s game on a seven game winning streak, the most recent was a 3-1 victory Monday against the Lauderdale County Tigers. This time around, however, the Wildcats fell 8-5.
The Wildcats got on the board first in the second inning with two runs. Ryan Britt reached on an error, followed by back to back singles from Brody White and Braxton Griffin. During River Helms at-bat, with the bases loaded, a passed ball allowed Britt to score and the other runners to move up one base. Helms knocked in the second run on a sacrifice fly. After two innings, the Wildcats led 2-0.
The Tigers quickly tied things up at 2-2 after a throwing error on a bunt by Micah Christensen resulted in two runs scoring. Christensen, who advanced all the way to third on the error, scored in the next at-bat on an RBI groundout by Landon Jones giving them a 3-2 lead.
West came right back in the bottom half of the inning to tie the score at 3-3 after three back to back singles, the third of which was an RBI single by Cooper Phillips.
The Tigers scored two more unearned runs in the top of the fifth to take a 5-3 lead after another throwing error by the Wildcats. The Tigers added one more in the sixth after the Wildcats committed their third throwing error of the game. The Wildcats finished with just those three errors.
The Wildcats inched closer in the bottom of the sixth making it a 6-4 ballgame on a sacrifice fly by Ian Burroughs.
The Tigers put two more runs on the board in the top of the seventh, one run coming in by way of a passed ball and the other on an RBI single by Lauderdale County’s Riley McConnell.
The Wildcats did score one more in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI single from Britt, but were unable to come away with any more runs leading to the 8-5 final score.
“We hit the ball a little bit, but we really couldn’t string them together,” West head coach Ryan Griffin said. “But we had a couple of base running mistakes and a few defensive mistakes. You can’t make those mistakes against good teams, plain and simple. We played pretty clean all year, but today we just didn’t do it and it cost us.”
Eight of the nine batters in the Wildcats lineup got at least one hit. Burroughs didn’t tally a hit, but had one RBI. Collin Patterson, Devin Carter and Phillips each had two hits, with one RBI going to Phillips. Britt was 1-for-4 with an RBI and Helms went 1-for-3 with one RBI. Thorne Slaton, White and Griffin all added one hit.
Phillips was the starter on the mound for the Wildcats. He pitched three innings, giving up three runs on four hits, only one of which was earned. He finished with two walks and three strikeouts. Hayden Carter came in relief for Phillips, pitching three innings, allowing three hits, three runs, only one being earned. He walked one batter and struck out one. Griffin pitched one inning, allowing two runs on two hits.
“I thought the pitchers threw well. I really thought Hayden threw really well for us. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t help him out. He kept his head up, he kept battling and kept us in the game. Right there in that last inning, if we don’t let them get two, we’re still in the game,” Ryan Griffin said. “But Lauderdale County put it on us and did what they had to do to win the game.”
As the first round of the playoffs are set to begin Friday, April 23, Ryan Grifin is glad his team got this one out of the way.
“Just like I told the team, I’m glad we got some stuff to work on moving forward next week to get ready.”