Middle schools: Spartans wrap up Foothills title with win over East McDowell

West McDowell Middle School infielder Braden Beck fires to first base after fielding a grounder during a win over East McDowell last week. West defeated East 2-1 Thursday to round out a perfect, 12-0 championship season in the Foothills Conference. Josh Davis/blueridgesportsphotography.com

With the help of a great outing from its pitching staff, the West McDowell Middle School Spartans baseball team capped off a perfect season in the Foothills Conference, beating cross-town rival East McDowell 2-1 Thursday afternoon at Trojan Field. 

The collective effort began with two hitless innings from starting pitcher Matthew Spivey. That was followed by 3 1/3 innings pitched by Hunter Byerly and then Zack Whitson finished off the game with 1 2/3 hitless innings. 

The combined trio allowed a run on five hits, striking out five Trojans and walking five. 

The collaborative effort helped offset an equally strong outing from East McDowell (8-4) pitcher Noah Higgins, who went the distance, allowing a pair of runs on six hits. Higgins struck out four and walked just one batter.

The Spartans (12-0) scored single runs in the first and third innings and were able to make that hold up despite multiple opportunities that East had to break through. 

Whitson accounted for both runs driven in at the plate for the Spartans. His one-out single to left drove in Spivey to make it 1-0.

Then in the top of the third with two outs, Whitson ripped a single up the middle, increasing the West McDowell advantage to 2-0.

After leaving seven runners on base in the first five innings, the Trojans finally broke through in the bottom half of the sixth.

Byerly walked leadoff hitter Jacob Davis. Evan Kelley then beat out a slow grounder to third for an infield single. Higgins then followed up with a single to right, loading the bases. 

Davis scored on a fielder’s choice by Bret Page to cut the deficit in half at 2-1. However, fly-outs by Tanner McKinney and Chase Coley off Whitson ended the threat, stranding the tying run at third. 

That turned out to be the ballgame as Whitson got three quick outs on a fly ball to right and grounders to short in the seventh to preserve the victory. 

Spivey, Eli Elliott, Ricky Carr and Dawson Ray each got a hit for the Spartans with Coley and Blake Greenway picking up one hit each for the Trojans. 





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