The South Caldwell Spartans are usually the cream of the crop where the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference is concerned, but the McDowell Titans gave them all they wanted Thursday night before falling 10-7 in a nail-biter.
The Titans (2-2 overall, 0-2 NWC) staged an epic comeback in the bottom of the sixth, scoring seven times to tie the game at 7-7. But the Spartans scratched out three runs in the top of the seventh and McDowell couldn’t answer, although the Titans did threaten in the bottom of the inning.
South Caldwell (4-0, 2-0) chipped its way to a seemingly commanding lead with two runs in the first and fourth innings and solo runs in the third, fifth and sixth.
That set the stage for the Titans’ rally.
Chapel Matson started it with a leadoff single to right against South Caldwell starter Isaiah Bush, who plunked Josh Maddux to put runners at first and second. Brycen Seymore followed with a four-pitch walk to load the bases.
An error in the outfield off the bat of Gage Gentry allowed Matson and Maddux to score and moved Seymore to third. Justin Davis followed with an infield single that plated Seymore and made it 7-3.
Gentry scored on an RBI ground-out by Justin Dula, and Justin Davis, who had stolen second, advanced to third. Pinch-hitter Cyrus Black struck out, but then, Bush nailed Ethan Hamm with a pitch to put runners at the corners. Bush walked Three Young to fill the bags again, and that was it for Bush.
Matson, in his second plate appearance of the inning, greeted reliever Ian Moretz with a triple to left field that tied the game at 7-7.
The Titans stranded Matson at third.
In the top of the seventh, the Spartans turned a walk and an infield hit into a pair of runs on an error at first, and then added an insurance run later in the inning.
The Titans still had some chances in the home half of the seventh. Seymore and Gentry both walked to start the frame. Justin Davis bunted the runners over, and reliever Colby Collins hit Dula with a pitch to load the bases.
But Collins rallied to strike out Black and Hamm to end the game.
Matson went 2-for-4 with three runs batted in and a triple for the Titans. Gentry was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.
Justin Davis (RBI, SAC, SB) and Ethan Davis (double) each went 1-for-2. Hamm (SB) was 1-for-3.
Seymore started on the mound and allowed five runs on six hits in four innings of work. He struck out five, walked five and hit two batters. Justin Davis absorbed the loss, giving up five runs – only one of them earned – on four hits in three innings of work. Davis struck out five and walked four.
Moretz got the win in relief for the Spartans, despite giving up the game-tying triple to Matson and recording only one out.
Hunter Ingle went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI for South Caldwell. Isaiah Kirby was 2-for-4 with a run batted in and a stolen base. Jarrett Pritchard (1 for 4) drove in three.
McDowell travels to Watauga Tuesday as NWC play continues.
South Caldwell 8, McDowell 1 (jayvees) – The Titans fell behind early and never recovered en route to a league loss.
McDowell (2-1-1 overall, 0-1-1 NWC) gave up a single run in the first, but South added three more in the third and two each in the fourth and fifth innings to extend the lead.
The Titans scored their only run in the bottom of the fifth.
McDowell managed just four hits, with Ethan Hensley, Dusty Revis, Logan Duncan and Cole Weaver picking up one apiece. Luke Roberts had McDowell’s only RBI.
Ty Smith took the loss on the mound, giving up four runs but just one hit and no walks in 2 2/3 innings. He did hit six batters, however. Smith struck out two. Ben Barnes and Mason Lamb also pitched for the Titans.