BASTIAN, Va. —
The lead lurched back and forth through two five-inning games Friday night before Narrows and Bland County left Skip Dillow Memorial Field with a split of a baseball doubleheader.
Aaron Rose struck out 10 Green Wave batters to earn a 5-2 win for Bland County in the first outing. Narrows’ Courtland Caldwell struck out the last two batters with the potential tying run on third base to preserve his team’s 6-5 victory over the Bears in game two.
“It was an unusual night all the way around,” said Bland County (7-4-1) head coach Norman Dillow. “It didn’t seem like anybody wanted to hold onto the lead. It was back-and-forth all evening.”
Narrows (6-8) coach Bryan Patteson said, “We had 11 kids today, and all 11 of them scrapped and got the second game.”
The Green Wave struck first, taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning on back-to-back walks with the bases loaded by Brandon Stowers and Devon Turner.
Rose got swinging strikeouts for all three outs in that frame, and held Narrows to three singles and no runs after that. He and the Bears defense retired the last seven Green Wave batters.
Dillow said, “He (Rose) didn’t start out with his ‘A game,’ but he was able to throw his curve ball for a strike and keep them off balance enough to shut them down, and he still struck out 10.”
Staring at a 2-2 score in the fifth and final inning of game one, Bland County took advantage of three Narrows errors en route to a three-run stanza.
Dillow said, “We played small ball in the fifth innings and made a few things happen. We put the ball in play and were able to get runners on base and take advantage of it.”
Narrows left eight men on base in game one.
Patteson said, “We stranded too many, the first game, to be going against that good of a pitcher for them. The Rose kid’s just tough. Stranding eight, you’re not going to beat him.”
The shoe was on the other foot in game two. Bland County stranded seven baserunners and made three errors to open the door for Narrows.
It started out in the Bears’ favor. Four consecutive batters reached base to start the bottom of the second inning and all four scored.
Jonah Miller’s double to right brought the first two runs across, and Tyler White followed with an RBI single. White scored on Mason Christian’s groundout for a 4-0 advantage.
Dillow said, “Jonah hit the ball real well in the second game. He hit a line-drive shot in the first game that their right-fielder made a good play on or that would’ve been an extra-base hit. He was making good contact all night long.”
The Wave went down in order in the first and second innings but broke through in the fourth. The key hit was Rodney Perdue’s double that drove in two runs. He then stole third and came home on a throwing error to tie the game 4-4.
Joe Hall returned from an elbow injury and handled the first three innings on the mound for Narrows. He was on a limited pitch count. He struck out three batters, walked three and two of the four runs scored against him were earned.
“Today was my first time back, and my elbow feels pretty good,” Hall said.
Caldwell picked up the pitching win. In two innings, he gave up two hits and one run while striking out four and walking three. He also led off the fifth with a hit to right and scored the go-ahead run on Perdue’s second double of the game.
Sophomore Bailey Snidow, called up to fill out the roster, doubled to dead-center field with two outs to score Perdue with the insurance run that turned out to be crucial.
Bland County’s Rose walked to begin the bottom half of the fifth, and promptly came home on Miller’s double to left-center. A sacrifice bunt got Miller to third base, but Caldwell ended it by inducing two swinging strikeouts.
Hall said, “I know our team’s going to battle back, every game. We’re going to fight strong. We’re going to stay together as a unit.”
Perdue said, “We just had a different mentality. We knew we lost the first one, we knew we had to make up for it. We’re very well coached. ... We just did our jobs, came back big in the top of the fifth. We just did our work.”
Patteson said, “It was a total team effort, defense and offense. I was pleased. It seemed like we were doing something to give one away and we made some plays to win one, finally.”
Dillow said, “They never gave up.”
The Bears play Tuesday at Grayson County. Narrows will play Tuesday at Graham.
Perdue said, “We have a great team, with great potential. We’ve still got six more games. We’re just going to do our thing.”
— Contact Tom Bone at email@example.com
At Skip Dillow Memorial Field
Bland County......001 13 — 5 5 0
Narrows..............200 00 — 2 4 5
Aaron Rose and Jonah Miller. Rodney Perdue and Drew Stowers. WP - Rose. LP - Perdue.
Narrows..............004 02 — 6 6 1
Bland County......040 01 — 5 6 3
Joe Hall, Courtland Caldwell (4) and Landon Neal. Kalub Lambert and Jonah Miller. WP - Caldwell. LP - Lambert.