By Joshua Price/Sports Editor
“It was an ugly game, there was nothing pretty about it. We didn’t play good baseball and we have to improve to be competitive.”
That was how Westbrook Christian High School head coach Matt Kennedy and West End High School head coach Chad Hall summed up the much anticipated first meeting of Class 2A, Area 13 baseball rivals on March 20, which resulted in a 13-3 Warrior victory.
West End leadoff hitter Caleb Mayo reached first base off an error to start the game. Mayo was caught in the tail-end a double play when Ryan Mashburn’s bunt attempt popped straight up and into the glove of third baseman Matt Reeves.
Westbrook scored a total of ten unearned runs off of nine West End errors – with seven of those runs coming in the bottom half of the first inning.
“You just can’t give up those kinds of runs and expect to win games,” Hall said.
West End scored three runs in the third inning, all unearned, to narrow Westbrook’s lead to 7-3.
Patriot pitcher Skylar McCright walked Jonathan Ford and Hayden Hendrick to leadoff the third inning. David Mahaffey followed with a deep shot over the leftfield scoreboard into the parking lot to extend the Warriors’ lead to 10-3.
West End dropped a pair of fly balls in the fifth inning to give Westbrook a pair of baserunners. McCright struck out the next batter. John Mayfield grounded into a 6-3 fielder’s choice, but earned the RBI to extend the lead to 11-3. Jake Kilgo followed with a two-out, RBI single to rightfield to extend the Warriors’ lead to 12-3. Matt Reeves’ RBI single to centerfield polished the Patriots off, forcing the ten-run rule.
The bottom half of Westbrook’s lineup did the most damage, scoring nine runs.
Ford scored two runs, Hendrick and McHaffey each scored three, and Clay Templeton scored one.
McCright ripped a two-run single in the third inning to lead West End. Mayo, Tyler Browning and Levi Weems each scored a run for the Patriots.
John Mayfield earned the win for Westbrook (11-7, 3-0). The senior pitched five innings and gave up no earned runs. He struck out two Patriots.
Skylar McCright pitched five solid innings for West End (11-3, 5-1), currently ranked eighth in the Class 2A polls. McCright gave up four earned runs, while striking out five Warriors.
Westbrook and West End will square off again on Thursday (March 22) at Walnut Grove. If Westbrook wins, they will secure first place in the Area 13 race and will likely finish with an area championship. A Patriot victory could likely force a playoff for the area championship, as both teams will likely finish tops in the area.