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home : local sports : local sports

5/10/2013 1:54:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
Salukis emerge with 4-3 win in county battle
BRIDGEPORT - Of the 17 losses Lawrenceville High School's baseball team has suffered this season, coach Josh Benefiel says Thursday's 4-3 setback to rival Red Hill might be the hardest to take.

The Indians had leads of 2-0 and 3-2, but could hang on to neither as the Salukis emerged in a Little Illini Conference game at the Tank Farm.

"This is a real tough loss for our team," said Benefiel, whose team will take a 1-17 mark into the post-season, after finishing 1-9 in the LIC. "We were right there the whole game. Now we've got to buckle down and make plays because it's win or go home."

The Salukis, now 3-10 and 2-8 in the LIC, are slated to conclude the regular season today at Flora after riding the two-hit pitching of Jacob Wirth past the Indians.

However, coach Mike Wallace says the win over the Indians could provide some needed momentum.

"This is the team we thought we could be all season," said Wallace, whose team had downed the Indians, 5-2, on April 4 in Lawrenceville. "If we can keep it rolling, we should have a good shot in the post-season."

The Indians took a 2-0 lead in the top of the opening inning when freshman Jacob Seed doubled home Ryan Seed, who had reached on an error, and Gage McIntosh, who had reached on a fielder's choice.

LHS carried the 2-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth. That's when RHHS freshman Dalton Murray was safe on an infield error and Noah Puntney - one of four RHHS seniors who were playing their final home game - crushed a pitch over the fence in left-center field to tie the game.

The Indians regained the advantage in the top of the fifth when Ryan Seed belted his first career home run, over the fence in left.

The lead was short lived, however, as the Salukis responded with two unearned runs in the bottom of the inning.

With one out, Murray was safe on an infield error. Then Puntney's fly ball went for another error, as Murray scored to tie the game. Ryan Kolb followed by doubling home Puntney with what proved to be the winning run.

Wirth is now 2-2 on the season, after having also tossed a complete game against the Tribe in the first meeting. He gave up only the double to Jacob Seed in the first inning and the solo homer to Ryan Seed in the fifth.

He set the Indians down in order only once - in the seventh - but survived four walks and a pair of errors while striking out seven, including two in the final frame.

Gage McIntosh, who pitched the first five innings, fell to 1-2 for LHS. McIntosh allowed only one earned run on four hits with a walk. He was in command most of the way, with eight strikeouts to his credit, two in each of the first four innings.

Braxton Blagrave tossed the sixth inning for LHS, overcoming a walk to retire the side without incident.

Red Hill's other two hits were singles by Kolb in the second and fourth frames.

The Indians travel to Fairfield Monday for regional play, with the winner to face top-seeded Flora at Mount Carmel on Wednesday.

Red Hill will travel to Noble to open regional play Monday. The winner will travel to Edwards County to face the host Lions, the tournament's top seed, on Wednesday.

Red Hill 4,

Lawrenceville 3

Lawrenceville 200 020 0 - 3 2 2

Red Hill 000 230 x - 4 4 2

Gage McIntosh, Braxton Blagrave (6) and Ryan Seed; Jacob Wirth and Blake Adams. W - Wirth (2-2).L - McIntosh (1-2). 2B - L, Jacob Seed. RH, Ryan Kolb, HR -L, Ryan Seed. RH - Noah Puntney.


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