West Lauderdale’s seniors made their final game at Jerry Boatner Field a memorable one Monday night.
Moments after Kameron Partridge completed his fifth shutout inning on the mound, the Knights loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame, and Brandon Andreacchio took advantage in a scoreless ballgame. The senior sent a ball over the outstretched glove of Sumrall right fielder Billy Garrity, scoring the game’s first two runs with a one-out double. The hit opened the floodgates for West Lauderdale’s offense, as the Knights tacked on two more runs in the inning and a six more in the sixth.
Ben Ethridge put an exclamation point on the outburst and doubled home West Lauderdale’s 9th and 10th runs of the game in the bottom of the sixth, as the Knights bounced back from Sunday’s Game 1 loss and forced a decisive Game 3 in the Class 4A South State championship series with an emphatic 10-0 win.
Game 3 is scheduled for 7pm Tuesday night in Sumrall.
“We knew it was gonna be a great atmosphere and a great environment [tonight],” West Lauderdale coach Jason Smith said. “We had a great pitcher’s duel going, and we were fortunate enough to score some runs there in the fifth inning. Super proud of our guys and the effort and heart they showed to bounce back and force a Game 3.”
Partridge went the distance for the Knights. The Jones College signee struck out seven and allowed only three hits in the win.
“I’m very confident in all of our pitching staff, but he [Partridge] has pitched a lot of innings and won a lot of ballgames for us,” Smith said. “He’s really tough to beat, so I had a lot of confidence in him.”
The Bobcats left six runners on base in the loss.
“We knew going in runs were probably gonna be limited off of Partridge, who is just a great pitcher,” Sumrall coach Larry Knight said. “When we get guys on base against those guys, we gotta be able to get a hit. We got a big hit last night against Ethridge, and tonight we didn’t.”
Sumrall’s Kros Sivley took a no-hitter into the fifth, but the sophomore left-hander also took the loss for the Bobcats after allowing four runs in the fifth. After Andreacchio’s hit in the inning, Brett Mason and Ethridge followed with RBI. Ethridge and Braden Luke highlighted the sixth with two-run doubles for West Lauderdale.
Mason Willis (7-0, 0.47 ERA) is expected to start on the mound for the Knights in Tuesday’s Game 3. Meanwhile, Sumrall will have their choice of Halen Sanford, Billy Garrity or John Cody Stogner.
“We’ll use everybody if we have to,” Knight said. “We’ll talk about who we’re gonna start and figure that out, but we feel like we’re in good shape there.”