Westbrook slides past Sardis

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By Chris McCarthy/Editor

Due in large part to a solid pitching effort by Troy Bearden, Westbrook Christian posted a 10-6 victory over Sardis in high school baseball on Monday (Mar. 7) in Rainbow City. 

The sophomore righthander shook off a shaky first inning to retire 12 out of the next 14 batters to earn the win. Just one Lion reached base from the second through the fifth innings, and that occurred on a fielding error in the top of the third. 

In five and one-third innings, Bearden allowed six runs, five hits and six walks while striking out six. 

“Sometimes Troy gets in a hurry and tries to overthrow, but he settles down, it’s nice to watch,” said Westbrook head coach Matt Kennedy. “He’s got a strong arm and we know he’s got good stuff, and he began to throw strikes and stay ahead of the hitters. We also played pretty sound defensively, which helped his rhythm.”

No Westbrook batter had multiple hits. The Warriors (3-5) scored eight of their runs off either walks or fielding errors.

The first inning took almost an hour from start to finish, as the teams combined for eight walks and seven full-count at-bats. The Lions opened the game with two straight walks, and respective RBI singles from Caleb Wofford and Kolby Childers helped the visitors take a 4-0 lead.

Westbrook didn’t trail for long. Addison Ponder, Kyle Leonard, Cullen Stafford, Chandler Richards and Tyler Self all scored in the bottom of the inning to give the hosts the lead for good.

“Neither team could really throw strikes and neither team hit the ball real well,” said Kennedy. “I though it would be a long game after [the first inning], and we were fortunate that we scored a couple of times later on.”

While Bearden kept Sardis off the scoreboard for the next four innings, the Warrior offense put across two runs in the second and three more in the fifth. RBI base hits from Logan Gaskin and J.R. Strickland in the sixth inning drew the Lions drew within four runs, but reliever Connor Bolton pitched a 1-2-3 top of the seventh to secure the win. 

Childers went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored for Sardis, while Wofford went 2-for-3 with two RBI.

“I’m real happy where we are right now, considering that the guys who played basketball are just now rounding into baseball shape,” said Kennedy. “I know our hitting will come around; we just have to knock some of the rust off our bats.” 

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