After both teams exploded offensively in the opening inning, Albemarle and Western Albemarle’s regular season finale settled in a little bit.
That changed in the fifth when Albemarle tacked on four huge runs with two outs to expand its narrow lead and eventually pick up a 9-5 win.
The big fifth got going when Will Townsed drew a walk and then Alex Duval singled to put two on. Hunter Shifflett stepped in and notched an RBI single, then Jacob Hensley did the same. The Patriots then drew two straight walks with Shifflett scoring on the second. Jack McMullan followed with another RBI single and a 9-4 lead that Western wouldn’t be able to overcome.
Shifflett finished 3-for-5 on the night while Hensley went 2-for-4 and McMullan went 2-for-5. Townsed and Jason Breen each finished with two RBI on the night.
Both teams used a series of pitchers in the clash with Albemarle finding the most success after both starters struggled. Alex Bingler and Will Coleman each had four strikeouts in relief work with Coleman going 2.2 innings and Bingler going 3.0 innings. Brandon Thomas highlighted Western’s efforts on the mound as he struck out three in 1.1 innings and didn’t allow a run.
Isaac Sumpter gave the Western offense a big jolt with a 3-for-4 night that included a two-RBI single in the first inning that cut Albemarle’s lead to 5-4 after a frustrating start for the Warriors, who wrapped up the district championship a week ago.
Both teams will now turn their attention to region tournament play next week.