Led­ford strong as War­riors run by Bull­dogs

Eas­ton ral­lies from 2-0 deficit for third win in four games

Times-Record - - Sports - By DAVID INSLEY dins­ley@star­dem.com

EAS­TON — Ma­son Led­ford pitched his sec­ond com­plete game in as many starts Thurs­day, and the War­riors backed him with nine hits, while North Caro­line com­mit­ted seven er­rors, as Eas­ton High’s base­ball team won for the third time in its last four games, 10-2.

Eas­ton im­proved to 3-2 over­all, 2-0 North Bay­side, while North Caro­line (1-3, 0-2) lost its third straight af­ter win­ning on open­ing day.

“We came out hit­ting, mov­ing men around, and then we just stopped,” Bull­dog head coach Joe Bild­stein said. “And when we went flat, we went flat.”

Mark Con­nor, hit by a pitch to be­gin the game, scored mo­ments later on Will Man­ship’s dou­ble deep to left-cen­ter field, and two bat­ters later, Ma­son Blake’s sacri­fice fly to cen­ter made it 2-0, North Caro­line.

But Led­ford (2-0) set­tled in af­ter that.

“I had good con­trol, re­ally good con­trol,” Led­ford said. “And the de­fense played just a great game be­hind me . ... I didn’t have all my stuff early on, but when I got my stuff, I just got the pitches to go.”

Eas­ton erased the deficit against Bull­dog starter Con­nor (0-1) in the bot­tom of the sec­ond. With one out, Led­ford (sin­gle, two runs, RBI) a Kee­gan Bentz walked. Jae­don Cop­per beat out an in­field hit, load­ing the bases. Alek Rei­del chopped a grounder to short. Cop­per was forced out at sec­ond on the play, but the Bull­dog in­field couldn’t com­plete the dou­ble play; Led­ford scored on the play to make it 2-1.

Rei­del stole sec­ond a mo­ment later, and two pitches af­ter that, an er­rant pick­off throw at sec­ond al­lowed Bentz to score from third to tie the game, while Rei­del took his place there. Josh Tull walked a mo­ment later, and also swiped sec­ond.

A Trent Weems sin­gle scored both run­ners, put­ting Eas­ton up 4-2 be­fore Con­nor got the next bat­ter to fly out to cen­ter, end­ing the in­ning.

Ryan Farr reached on an er­ror to start the home half of the third; by the time it ended, Eas­ton had tacked on three more runs, all un­earned, and was ahead 7-3. An­other three-spot by the hosts, be­gun by a Jaden Cas­sell sin­gle in the bot­tom of the fourth, made it 10-2.

As the of­fense was put­ting the game out of reach, Led­ford kept get­ting stronger. An Austin Ste­wart walk and steal went to waste in the Bull­dog sec­ond. Al­lan Saathoff’s sin­gle in the third re­sulted in a failed try to nab sec­ond.

It got quiet on the Bull­dog’s half of the score­board there­after, Led­ford re­tir­ing 13 of the last 14 hit­ters he faced.

“Ma­son threw very well for us, just as he did when we played Leonard­town,” said Eas­ton head coach Al­bert Pritch­ett, whose team scored 10 runs or more in a win just once in all of 2016, but has al­ready done it twice this year. “And the kids this year have more ex­pe­ri­ence . ... They have that one more year of ex­pe­ri­ence, that ex­tra year un­der their belt, and they’re ap­proach­ing the plate with a lit­tle more con­fi­dence.

Eas­ton vis­its Queen Anne’s County, at 4 p.m. Mon­day, for its next game.

Notes: Both teams gath­ered at the plate be­fore play be­gan for a photo, to show sup­port for 2016 Eas­ton grad­u­ate Jack Wheat­ley. Wheat­ley, who played base­ball at Eas­ton for four years be­fore go­ing to col­lege, was di­ag­nosed with acute myeloid leukemia last fall, but is mak­ing good progress, and is about to be­gin a fourth and fi­nal round of chemo­ther­apy, in his bat­tle against the ill­ness . ... Cou­pled with the team’s 12-7 de­feat of Kent Is­land on Wed­nes­day, Eas­ton scored 10 runs or more in con­sec­u­tive games, and won both, for the first time since top­ping Colonel Richard­son 11-3, and then North Dorchester, 11-6, in mid-April, 2014.

Queen Anne’s 6, Kent Is­land 0

STEVENSVILLE — Aaron Rovenolt struck out eight in five in­nings, as the Lions (2-1, 2-0) won their sec­ond straight. Matt Robin­son locked it up with two score­less in­nings of re­lief.

Kent Is­land fell to 1-3, 0-3. Lo­gan Du­me­nil and Dylan Tvelia had hits for the Buc­ca­neers. Tvelia (0-1) ab­sorbed the loss.

St. Michaels 8, N. Dorchester 3

ST. MICHAELS — The Saints (5-0, 3-0) trailed the Ea­gles (2-3, 1-2) 3-1 in the bot­tom of the sixth, but ran past their guests with a seven-run in­ning, sparked by a Nick New­nam lead­off triple.

New­nam also got the pitch­ing win in re­lief, al­low­ing one walk and strik­ing out one bat­ter in two-thirds of an in­ning. Starter Brodie Steen went 5 1-3 in­nings, al­low­ing two earned runs and strik­ing out three. New­nam had two hits and an RBI. Matt Gro­gan had a sin­gle, dou­ble, steal, and scored once, notch­ing one RBI in the process. Trent Saun­ders had an RBI dou­ble and scored once, and An­drew Risher’s sin­gle in the sixth scored two runs; he even­tu­ally scored as well.

Cam­bridge-SD 2, Kent County 1

CAM­BRIDGE — In a nip-and-tuck con­test, right-han­der Tyler Hard­ing (1-1) out­du­eled Tyson John­son (1-1), both pitch­ers go­ing the dis­tance. Hard­ing fanned 10 in the win, al­low­ing two hits, while John­son scat­tered six hits, strik­ing out six.{p class=”p1”}Bran­don Tibbs went 2 for 3 with a steal for C-SD, which scored both of its runs on passed balls in the bot­tom of the fifth.

PHOTO BY DAVID INSLEY

The North Caro­line and Eas­ton High base­ball teams joined forces be­fore their game on Thurs­day to show their sup­port for 2016 Eas­ton alum Jack Wheat­ley, who’s cur­rently fight­ing leukemia. Wheat­ley is at­tend­ing the U. S. Coast Guard Academy and hopes to play base­ball there as well af­ter beat­ing his ill­ness.

PHOTO BY DAVID INSLEY

Eas­ton right-han­der Ma­son Led­ford pitched his sec­ond com­plete game in as many starts on Thurs­day, strik­ing out seven in a 10-2 de­feat of North Caro­line.

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