By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
KIMBERLY — Four runs in the third inning of the first game was enough for Mortimer Jordan.
Four runs in the third inning of the second game was not.
The Blue Devils took Friday’s first game of their second-round AHSAA Class 5A baseball playoff doubleheader with a 5-2 victory over visiting Walker, but dropped the second game by a 5-4 score.
That sets up a third and deciding game between the Devils and the Vikings on Saturday, with the first pitch at 1 p.m.
In the opener, Walker jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, as Brooks Wade smacked a 1-2 Taylor Goodwin pitch to center field for a triple, scoring John Michael Reed. Wade then scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Stone Stephenson.
But that’s all the scoring that the Vikes could muster, as he allowed just four more baserunners the rest of the way. He finished the complete-game effort with three hits, two walks and seven strikeouts.
Jordan cut the deficit to one run when Justin Folse’s double brought Goodwin in from first base. They then tied the game when Austin Davis scored on a Wes Crawford hit, and took the lead when an errant throw on a play at home plate allowed Walker McCleney and Nathan Stover to score. Crawford then scored from third on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Couch.
Crawford was 2-for-3 for the game to lead the Devils. Pinch hitter Andrew Warren, batting for Goodwin in the fifth, hit a double to center field but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple.
Walker starting pitcher Maverick Bahrik was pulled in the third after giving up two lead-off hits. Reliever Jackson Holladay yielded five hits, but no earned runs.
In the nightcap, Jordan jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the third, thanks to four consecutive one-out singles. After Garrett Davis loaded the bases on a hit-by-pitch, Brandon Couch drove in two runs with a double.
The Vikings responded with three runs in the bottom of the third, when Wade smacked a two-run hit; Reed then scored on an error.
Walker took the lead in the fifth, after Jordan starter Nathan Stover gave up a lead-off single to Logan Nix. Devils coach Shayne Carnes then pulled Stover in favor of reliever Wes Crawford, who then allowed Nix to score and Reed to go all the way to third on a throwing error. Reed then scored on a hot by Wade, who was thrown out trying to stretch out a double.
Wade was 2-for-3 and drove in all three of the Vikings’ earned runs. Reed and Nix each scored twice.
Starter Bailey Tidwell struck out six and gave up seven hits in six innings. Nix finished things off with a seventh inning that consisted off three fly-outs, with Crawford reaching on a two-base error.
Stover and Crawford only gave up five hits between them, but lost the game on the two unearned runs off errors.