The Midway baseball team celebrated senior night on Friday, hosting the West Bladen Knights to conclude the regular season. After a tight battle, Midway took advantage of some late West Bladen mistakes to take the victory, 7-5.
West Bladen struck first in the top of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead.
Midway answered in the bottom of the inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Jake Clark hit a single to the outfield to score Greg Nobles. Still bases loaded and one out, Matt Nunnery hit a grounder back to the pitcher. West Bladen got the force-out at home, but an errant throw to first base on the double-play attempt allowed Landon Dorman to score for the go ahead run. The Knights retired the next batter to end the inning, but Midway was now ahead 2-1.
In the bottom of the second, the Raiders picked up two more runs to add to their lead. Jake Baggett led the inning off with a single to center field. After West Bladen retired the next two batters, Wesley Johnson drew a walk to put runners on first and second. Austin Peterson was sent in to pinch run for Johnson. Dorman stepped up to the plate and belted a double to center field, scoring Baggett and Johnson. The inning ended with Midway now in front 4-1.
West Bladen answered in the top of the third inning, picking up two runs of their own to cut into the margin and make it 4-3.
Midway was able to get one of those back in the bottom of the third. Nunnery belted a one-out triple to deep left followed by another nice hit by Baggett to score Nunnery. At the conclusion of the inning, Midway was back on top 5-3.
West Bladen answered again in the top of the fifth as the Knights were able to plate a pair of runs to tie the game at 5-5.
West Bladen’s pitcher seemed to take control of the game as he fanned two batters and forced a pop-up for the third out in the bottom of the fifth.
The Midway defense held its own in the top of the sixth to maintain a tie game at 5-5.
Again, West Bladen’s pitcher showed strong showing in the bottom of the sixth, recording two strikeouts and one walk to begin the inning. With two outs, Dorman hit a ground ball to the third baseman for what should have been a routine third out, but the throw at first was errant. Suddenly, Midway has runners in scoring position as Nobles was on third and Dorman on second. As solid as the Knights pitcher had been down the stretch, two big wild pitches to Dustin Holland allowed both Nobles and Dorman to score, putting Midway back on top for good for the 7-5 victory.
After the game, Midway head coach Jason Fussell praised his team’s ability to play through the tough field conditions to secure the win.
“We did a great job battling through it.”
Coach Fussell also commended his senior, Jake Baggett, “He’s the team leader and stepped up and did a great job tonight.”
Baggett, Midway’s only senior, received a postgame shower thanks to a cunning set up by his coach and teammates. Baggett took it all in.
“It is bitter sweet being the last regular season home game here,” Baggett said. “But I love these guys and I know we aren’t done.”
With the win, Midway clinches second place in the Four County Conference.
Midway’s final record may be 12-9 overall, but the Raiders finished with a conference record of 10-4. They really turned their season around beginning with the Easter Tournament at Terry Sanford. Since then, they finished the season out going 9-1 to give them big momentum heading to the playoffs.
Midway will be back in action next in the first round of the playoffs. Date, time, and location will be determined this weekend.
Reach Daron Barefoot at [email protected]