RONDA — Over the past week, the East Wilkes Cardinals baseball team has earned wins and losses. Last Thursday, the Cardinals hosted Alleghany in a conference game and took a 5-3 win.
On Monday night, the Cardinals faced Alleghany once again, but this time it was in the first round of the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference tournament. The Trojans came out swinging and were able to take an early lead then hang on to take a 7-6 win over the Cardinals.
East Wilkes 5 – Alleghany 3
The Cardinals were able to put down an early 3-0 lead over the Trojans. Sean Sidden started the bottom of the first inning off with a double to left field. Ben Longbottom was able to advance Sidden to third with a hit to shortstop. With a runner on third, Bryce Vestal stepped up to the plate and hit a hard ball into right field for a double. The hit brought Sidden across the plate and the Cardinals had a 1-0 lead.
With one out on the board, Tate Weatherman put his name on the board during the next at-bat. On a 0-1 count, Weatherman sent the ball flying over the center field fence for a two-run home run. The Cardinals had started off the game the best way possible with a 3-0 lead over Alleghany.
It took until the third inning for the Cardinals to bring another run across the plate. While Vestal was at the plate, Sidden stole home on a wild pitch to give East Wilkes a 4-0 lead. East Wilkes put down its final run in the bottom of the fourth inning as Austin Absher scored off of a hit by Jared Wood.
The Cardinals had a 5-0 lead heading into the final stretch of the game. The Trojans started to put down hit after hit in the batter’s box to score three runs in the top of the fifth inning. The Cardinals were able to get out of the jam as Zach Lovette put down the third out with a strikeout.
As the game went on, East Wilkes stranded four runners in two innings. Although the Cardinals stranded runners, East Wilkes was able to hang on the take a 5-3 win over Alleghany.
On the mound, Lovette and Vestal teamed up for the win. Lovette had seven strikeouts while Vestal had two.
Alleghany 7 – East Wilkes 6
East Wilkes was coming off of a Saturday game which saw them take a 16-6 loss to Wilkes Central. The loss gave East Wilkes the third seed in the MVAC tournament and once again the Cardinals had to face Alleghany. This time it was the Trojans who came out swinging early in the game.
In the top of the second inning, Alleghany was able to bring six runs across the plate for a 6-0 lead. The Cardinals had a tough uphill battle for the next few innings. In the bottom of the fourth inning, East Wilkes was able to bring in its first run of the night as Vestal stole home. Before the inning was over, East Wilkes scored another run to make the score 6-2.
East Wilkes kept things going in the batter’s box in the fourth inning, as Vestal singled on a fielder’s choice which brought Rhodes and Sidden into score. With two outs on the board, the Cardinals were able to bring another run in as Brandon Church put down a hard hit to center field to score Vestal.
Things started heating up in the seventh inning, as both teams started fighting for the win. Alleghany added one run to make the score 7-5 heading into the bottom of the inning.
East Wilkes was able to start off the inning with a runner on base, as Sidden was hit by a pitch. Sidden stole second base to put himself in scoring position for the Cardinals. Longbottom stepped up and hit a line drive to left field which saw Sidden round the bases and score a run for East Wilkes. While Sidden scored, Longbottom was caught running for the first out.
Vestal was able to continue the hits as he doubled to center field. Vestal advanced to third on a dropped third strike to Weatherman. The Cardinals were unable to bring Vestal into score, and Alleghany took a 7-6 win over East Wilkes.
The Cardinals ended their regular season with an overall record of 11-12 and a conference record of 9-5. East Wilkes will now await for the NCHSAA playoff seedings to be released.