For the second time in the past week, the Lexington Wildcats have treated their home crowd to a come-from-behind, walk-off win. Friday evening, they secured a critical District playoff win over Ashley Ridge in a 9-inning contest.
It was a rocky beginning as starting pitcher Nathan Roof struggled with control. Four walks and two singles gave the Swamp Foxes an early 3-0 advantage.
Lexington responded with a run in the home half of the first when Dalton Lansdowne singled to center, moved to second on a fielder’s choice, advanced to third on a passed ball, and scored on a ground out.
Although the Wildcats had base runners in all but one inning, they could not score on the Ashley Ridge pitcher, Deandre Smith, whose fastball was topping out at 90 miles per hour. Smith went 5 1/3 innings, surrendering 1 run on 2 hits while striking out 7. The Swamp Foxes also were unable to score and the 3-1 lead held up until the seventh inning.
Identical to their predicament on Saturday against Flora, Lexington found themselves down by 2 runs as they entered their final at bat. With one out, Dalton Lansdowne drew a walk. On a 1-0 pitch to Peyton Evans, Lansdowne put himself in scoring position with a steal of second base. Evans grounded out, Lansdowne held at second, and the Wildcats clung to their last out. Cole Lemacks drew a walk and on a 0-1 pitch to Noah Huthmaker, Lexington successfully executed a double steal, as runners moved to second and third. Huthmaker’s followed with a pop fly to short right that was just out of the reach of both the Ashley Ridge right fielder and second baseman and both runners crossed home, tying the score at 3.
After a scoreless eighth inning, Dalton Lansdowne led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk. A successful sacrifice bunt by Peyton Evans allowed Lansdowne to advance to second with 1 out. On a 1-2 pitch, Lansdowne slid safely into third base with his 6th steal of the game. After Cole Lemacks struck out, Coach Brian Hucks chose an unlikely pinch hitter. With only 11 previous at bats and no hits this season, pitcher Noah Davis strode to the plate. He connected with a check swing on the first pitch of the at bat and the ball dropped into short right field, scoring Lansdowne with the winning run.
Lexington (19-7) now advances to the District final on Monday evening at home where they will face either South Florence or Ashley Ridge. With one win on Monday, Lexington will move on to the Lower State Final 4 bracket.
Ashley Ridge 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 5 0
Lexington 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 5 0
Dalton Lansdowne: 2 for 2, 3 walks, 3 runs scored, 6 stolen bases
Noah Huthmaker: 1 for 2 (double), 2 RBI, 1 stolen base
Chase Crouch: 1 for 4
Noah Davis: 1 for 1, 1 RBI
Cole Lemacks: 0 for 3, 1 run scored, 1 RBI, 2 stolen bases
Peyton Evans (2-0), 3.0 innings pitched, 0 runs, 2 hits, 2 strikeouts, 1 base on balls