Dominant pitching performances by Lindsay Lane's Micah Perkins and West Limestone’s Cooper Phillips led to a pitchers' duel throughout the game with not much offense to show for it on either side.
A costly first-inning hit by pitch by Perkins and an eventual RBI single led to the only run of the game and, ultimately, a Wildcat victory of 1-0 Friday night at LLCA.
Phillips was hit by a pitch with two outs in the top of the first inning. He stole second to put himself in scoring position for West’s Ryan Britt to drive him in on a single to center field.
The Wildcats had one more opportunity to score in the second inning on a single by Brody White, but Braxton Griffin was thrown out at home by Lions third baseman AJ Davis to end the inning.
Perkins allowed seven hits in his seven innings of work, one earned run, one walk and 11 strikeouts. He threw a total of 110 pitches, 69 of which were strikes.
“Their guy dominated," West head coach Ryan Griffin said. "We were lucky to get that run across in the first inning."
West’s Cooper Phillips started the game for the Wildcats, and while it took three pitchers in total for the Wildcats to complete the shutout, they were all just as dominant.
In Phillips' 4 1/3 innings of work, he didn’t allow a hit, walked three and struck out five. He was taken out for Logan Martin in the fifth.
Martin got through the fifth and sixth innings unscathed despite giving up the first hit of the game, a double, to Sam Hogue in the sixth, setting things up for the closer, Colin Patterson. LLCA’s Alexander Cook singled to lead off the final inning, but Patterson shut them down one, two, three after that to end the game and leave the tying run on base.
While Griffin admitted he wanted to see more balls in play and more runs on the board, one run is all his team needed to get the job done.
“I was really proud of our pitchers, all three of them. They did a really good job,” Griffin said. “I was also very pleased with our defense. They put the ball in play and made us make plays.”
LLCA head coach Charles Morrison said he was also proud of his team. He believes they proved their current No. 2 ranking in Class 1A is well deserved.
“It was a pitchers' duel out there," Morrison said, adding that even in a loss, a team has to look at the big picture and continue working to get better, improve and achieve what they want to accomplish in the long run.
"We wanted to play West Limestone because we knew they were a solid team," he said. "They have great pitching and great hitting. We want to challenge ourselves, and we met a pretty good opponent.”