By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
West End High head baseball coach Joe Payne described last Monday’s 6-5 Class 2A, Area 12 win over Gaston in succinct fashion.
“It was a good game with both teams making mistakes, our pitching kept us in it and we came through in the end. We also got seven strong innings from Corey Willingham and he also went 3-for-3 at the plate.”
The host Patriots got a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Caegan Epperson drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a pitcher’s balk and scored on an error.
Gaston tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the third when Sawyer Bryson singled, advanced to third on consecutive groundouts and scored on an error.
From that point, the game settled into a pitcher’s duel until the top of the fifth.
After Gaston’s Kevin Hollingsworth and Gabe Crain led off the inning with respective singles, Jesse Samples drove in two runs with a single and scored on a West End error to give Gaston a 4-1 lead.
The bottom of the inning, however, saw West End regain the lead and the momentum.
Dylan Gregory led off with a walk, followed by a line drive single by Coy Willingham. Issac Kirby followed with a single to drive in Gregory to cut the deficit to 4-2.
Epperson singled to drive in a run, and Lister plated two runs with a single giving the Patriots a 5-4 lead after five innings of play.
Gaston tied the game in the top of the seventh inning when Crain singled, followed by walks to Samples and Alexander Allen and a long sacrifice fly by Bryant Allen to tie the score 5-5.
West End was not to be denied in the bottom of the inning, when with two outs, Lister singled and scored on a double by Hunter Grant for the comeback victory.
In seven innings, Willingham gave up eight hits while striking out five and walking three.
Crain went five innings for Gaston, allowing five runs on five hits. He struck out five while walking one. Sawyer Bryson took the loss, giving up one run on three hits.