ELKIN - Looking to end the regular season on a high note, the Buckin’ Elks “fizzled out” against West Wilkes Friday night.
Elkin fell behind early as the Blackhawks held on for the 8-4 victory in a critical 1A matchup.
“They came out hitting the ball, but Bubba wasn’t as sharp as he was in the past,” head coach Steve Martin said. “We kept scratching and I thought we were going to scratch back, but we fizzled out. We just couldn’t get it done.”
West came out swinging to open the game against Bubba Bradley. The first three batters reached in the game en route to a quick 4-0 lead after the first.
But the Elks responded immediately as Jamey Cranford plated Seth Haynes on an infield single back to the mound. Two batters later, Daniel Brinegar scored Cranford as Elkin cut the lead in half at 4-2.
Liberty-bound Will Shepherd pushed the lead back out to three at 5-2 in the second with a long solo shot to deep center.
Once again, the Elks had an answer. After drawing a leadoff walk, Drew Shinkle came around to score on a wild pitch to trim the deficit to 5-3.
West plated a run in the third straight frame to open the game, using three hits in its first four at-bats to extend its lead out to 7-3.
Elkin then began to “fizzle out.” Frank Miller drew a walk to start the third before scoring on a wild pitch, but the Elks’ bats went silent.
Following Brinegar’s RBI single in the first, the Elks were held hitless over 13 at-bats before Haynes roped a double in the fourth.
But it was too little too late as Elkin only managed five base hits in the contest, falling 8-4 and ending any hopes of catching West or Alleghany to move up in the 1A standings.
“That was a tough one; we needed that. A win would have helped us in the playoffs, so now we’ll have to go on the road,” Martin explained. “They hit the ball and we didn’t really give them anything so I can’t really complain. We just didn’t hit the ball.”
Elkin ends the regular season with a 7-9 mark in the rugged Mountain Valley Conference, wrapping up the No. 6 seed in the upcoming tournament.
But despite the low seed, Martin and the Elks are heading into the conference tournament looking to “win the dang thing.”
“They can do it if they play,” he explained. “We hung with Wilkes Central both times and should have beaten them up there. The only team we haven’t played against was Forbush and we didn’t real try hard last time trying to save pitching.
“If they play, we can win it, so that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to go for it no matter who we play.”
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.