East Bladen cruises past Raiders

By Daron Barefoot - Sports Writer

Midway’s Austin Raynor pitches during Tuesday night’s loss at home against East Bladen.

The Midway baseball team welcomed East Bladen into Spivey’s Corner on Tuesday evening, opening up Four County Conference action. After picking up their first win on Friday night, Midway was unable to build off of it, as East Bladen handed the Raiders a 12-3 loss.

After a scoreless first inning, it was Midway that jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Adam Butler led the inning off for the Raiders with a single to left field. The next Midway batter, Chandler Williford, hit a grounder that caused Butler to be tossed out at second, but an errant throw to first base on a double-play attempt allowed Williford to advance safely to second. Two batters later, Austin Raynor grounded into another East Bladen double-play opportunity, but once again an errant throw allowed Raynor to reach, scoring Williford for the Midway 1-0 lead.

Things went south for Midway from there, as the Raiders surrendered five runs in the top of third inning. Midway found themselves in a no outs, bases loaded jam after giving up a single and two walks to begin the inning. East Bladen’s Tatum singled to center field, scoring their first run. The next batter, Owens, sent a single of his own into left field, scoring another run for the 2-1 lead. Midway retired the next two batters, but would not end the inning without giving up three more runs, bringing their deficit to 5-1.

The Raiders were able to grind out one run in the bottom of the third to cut into the margin. Midway’s Jake Clark, who had reached base earlier in the inning on a misplayed infield pop fly, was able to race home from third following a passed ball. The score was now 5-2.

East Bladen would get that run back in the top of the fourth, however, following base hits by East Bladen’s Smith and McGill and series of steals by both base-runners. Headed to the bottom of the fourth, East Bladen had regained a four run lead at 6-2.

Midway would go three up three down in the bottom of the fourth inning and at the top of the fifth inning, Matthew Nunnery would take the mound in relief of Austin Raynor.

East Bladen pushed its lead to 7-2 in the top of the fifth inning, as East Bladen’s Wooten came in for the score on a play that featured some miscommunication by the Raider’s infield.

Midway was able to cut into the deficit once again in the bottom of the fifth inning, picking up another run to cut the lead to 7-3. Midway’s Wesley Johnson started things off by reaching base on an error by the short stop. Jake Clark then drove a hit deep into center field that scored Johnson, but Clark was tagged out in a rundown between second and third. East Bladen went on to retire the side, ending a Midway opportunity.

Again, the visiting Eagles responded, capturing two more runs in the top of the sixth to push their lead to 9-3.

After an uneventful bottom sixth, things went from bad to worse for Midway in the top of of the seventh. In an inning that featured two pitching changes, the Raiders surrendered three more runs, to bring the final score to 12-3.

After the game, Midway head coach Jason Fussell credits a lack of leadership for his teams early season struggles, saying “We’ve been blessed having four or five good leaders the past several years, but that piece just hasn’t fell into place yet. Hopefully it will.”

With the loss, Midway falls to 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the conference. They’re back in action Thursday night at Triton before returning to conference action on Friday night at Pender.

Reach Daron Barefoot at [email protected]

By Daron Barefoot

Sports Writer

Midway’s Austin Raynor pitches during Tuesday night’s loss at home against East Bladen.
http://clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/web1_IMG_2254.jpgMidway’s Austin Raynor pitches during Tuesday night’s loss at home against East Bladen.

Reach Daron Barefoot at [email protected]

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