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Through three innings, Friday night’s North Carolina Little League District 6 Ages 8-10 opener had all the makings of a pitchers duel.
But while Wilson continued to hold up its end on the mound, the offense came to life in a big way.
Winning pitcher Landon High hit a two-run double in the fourth and held East Chatham to just one hit in 3 2/3 innings as Wilson, serving as the visiting team, opened tournament play with a dominating 13-0 victory at Southern Bank Stadium.
Wilson advanced to a winners bracket game against South Durham at 1 p.m. Saturday back at SBS, while East Chatham awaits the loser of Clayton and Wilmington on Saturday at 3.
Through 3 2/3 innings, the right-handed High kept East Chatham off balance on his way to striking out six. He turned matters over to Camden Efird in the bottom of the fourth with a two-run lead.
After East Chatham engineered a double steal to put the tying run into scoring position, Efird escaped harm by ending the inning on a full-count strikeout.
Efird came up in the fifth and led off with a triple before trotting home on a wild pitch. Later, Josef Popowitch entered the game at catcher and steered a run-scoring single that allowed Mack Wiggins to come home.
Wilson put it well out of reach with its nine-run sixth, highlighted by a two-run triple by Connor Lewis. Wiggins tacked on a two-run double in the inning.
For Wilson, Angel Saldana and Lewis each had two hits. James Wright had the only hit for East Chatham in the bottom of the third. However, that two-out single was mitigated by a 1-4-3 double play courtesy of High, Wiggins and first baseman Stone Massey.
Bauer Bowling took the loss for East Chatham, striking out seven and walking three before being reached by High’s two-run double in the fourth.
Score by innings:
Wilson 000 229 — 13
East Chatham 000 000 — 0
WP-Landon High 3 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 6 SO. LP-Bauer Bowling 4 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Wilson: Angel Saldana 2-4, Connor Lewis 2-4, 3B, 3 RBI, Landon High 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI, Mack Wiggins 1-2, 2B, 2 RBI; East Chatham: James Wright 1-2.
Wilson can’t weather bad innings in 13-0 loss
Two tumultuous innings in the first and fourth spelled trouble for the WCLL Ages 8-9 All-Stars in a 13-0, four-inning loss to South Durham in the opening round of District 6 play Friday night.
Visiting South Durham hammered out 13 hits and pushed across seven runs in the first and four more in the fourth to induce the 10-run rule.
Wilson, which was plagued by five errors, was held to just two total hits by Landon Ange and Lawson Boykin. Both hits came in the second, with Boykin hitting a double to center field. Ange followed with a single and Boykin was waved around third on the play, only to be tagged out at the plate.
Shane Fitzsimmons, who was 3 for 4 with a triple for South Durham, drove in a pair of runs and earned the win on the mound. Fitzsimmons held Wilson without a hit over 1 1/3 innings and struck out two. Elliott Norris, Zachary Hatcher and Cooper Kozink all had two hits for South Durham.
Wilson drops into the losers bracket to play East Chatham or Bull City on Saturday at 11 a.m., while South Durham faces the East Chatham-Bull City survivor at 9 a.m. Saturday at SBS for a trip to the district title game.
Chase Twiddy absorbed the loss for Wilson.
Score by innings:
South Durham 701 5 — 13
Wilson 000 0 — 0
WP-Shane Fitzsimmons 1 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO. LP-Chase Twiddy 1/3 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Wilson: Landon Ange 1-1, Lawson Boykin 1-1, 2B; South Durham: Shane Fitzsimmons 3-4, 3B, 2 RBI, Elliott Norris 2-3, RBI, Zachary Hatcher 2-2, RBI, Cooper Kozink 2-3, RBI.
Machine-pitch tourney starts Saturday morning
District 6 tournament action in the machine-pitch Ages 7-8 ranks gets underway Saturday morning with a trio of games at 9 a.m.
Among them will be the Wilson entry on Gillette Field No. 3 when it faces Person County. South Durham Little League’s “A” team will be the Wilson opponent at 11, also on field No. 3.
Pool play concludes for Wilson on Sunday with two games as it faces Clayton at 9 a.m. and Bull City Little League’s “B” entrant.
All teams with a 3-1 record or better will advance to the single-elimination portion of the tournament Monday night. A pair of semifinal contests are set for 6 p.m. on Nos. 1 and 3, with the championship game set for 8 inside Southern Bank Stadium.
A third-place play-in game for state tournament purposes will be at 8 on Gillette Field No. 1.
Ages 9-11 coming to Gillette, starting June 28
The NCLL Ages 9-11 District 6 tournament opens June 28, with Bull City facing off with South Durham at 6 p.m.
Wilson has a bye out of the first round and will face the Bull City-South Durham winner at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 29 at Southern Bank Stadium.
East Chatham and Garner complete the five-team, double-elimination tournament and will face off June 28 at 6 p.m. at Gillette Field No. 3.