Baseball fans were treated to a classic in Game 1 of the SC Diamond Invitational at Blythewood High School. Lexington met JL Mann in a matchup featuring the teams’ ace pitchers. Jon Scott got the ball for the Wildcats while Jack Stamler started for the Patriots. As expected it quickly became a pitcher’s duel. In the end, Scott threw 100 pitches in his 8 innings of work, allowing no runs on 4 hits. He struck out 10 and picked off 3 Mann runners. Stamler went 6 2/3 innings, also holding the opposition scoreless on 2 hits while striking out 11 Wildcats.
The scoreless tie went to the bottom of the 10th inning. Cole Lemacks led off with a line drive single to center. Noah Huthmaker followed by drawing a walk. David Jacobs singled and Lexington loaded the bases with none out. On a 1-0 pitch, Jared Kirven triggered the walkoff, singling to right field and allowing Lemacks to score the winning run.
The Patriots had threatened several times during the ballgame.
In the first inning with runners on first and second and one away, John Scott gloved a comebacker to the mound and threw to second for the force out, the front end of an inning-ending double play.
With one out in the second inning, a snap throw by Jared Kirven picked off a Mann runner at first. The Patriots then drew a walk followed by a single, but Jon Scott picked off a runner at 2nd base to close out the inning.
The Patriots had runners at first and third with one out in the fourth inning. For Lexington, it was Scott with another pickoff followed by a strikeout and the rally was over.
Mann came close again in the top of the ninth. The leadoff hitter singled and moved to second on a fielder’s choice. Lexington intentionally walked the following batter, which put runners on first and second with one out. After a strikeout, another walk loaded the bases but reliever Peyton Evans forced a ground out and the shutout was still alive.
The Wildcats also had chances. They got a leadoff single from Chase Crouch in the third inning but were unable to capitalize. Likewise, Peyton Evans led off the seventh with a single but could not advance further.
Lexington will play Dutch Fork Thursday at 4:00. On Friday at 1:30, they face Dorman. Also competing in the SC Diamond Invitational are TL Hanna, Belton Honea Path, Nation Ford, and the host team, Blythewood.