West Wilkes baseball fends off Elkin, 10-6
MILLERS CREEK — West Wilkes started hot and finished strong in a 10-6 Mountain Valley 1A/2A baseball victory over visiting Elkin on Friday night.
The Blackhawks scored four runs in their first at-bats, headlined by a two-run double from Charles Noble. Elkin eventually cut a five-run deficit to 8-6 in the top of the sixth inning. But the Hawks answered with back-to-back home runs from Will Shepherd and Noble in the bottom of the frame to regain a comfortable margin.
From there, relief pitcher Isaac Aiken took care of the rest. Aiken struck out the side in the top of the seventh inning, getting two of Elkin’s last three batters to look at a third strike, to give teammate Shepherd the win.
Friday’s triumph lifts West Wilkes to 10-5 in conference play heading into Monday’s regular season finale against Ashe County. The Blackhawks have clinched the MVAC’s No. 1 seed for the upcoming Class 1A state playoffs. Elkin concludes its regular season 8-8 in conference play.
It’s possible that West Wilkes will host Elkin again next week as the conference tournament starts.
Elkin struck first Friday, moving ahead 1-0 in its first at-bat, but didn’t have the lead for long. Tyler Stotler began the West Wilkes first inning with a single to centerfield. Graylan Groce walked, and Shepherd followed with a hard hit that ate up Elkin’s shortstop. Stotler came home on the play.
That brought Noble to the plate, and senior infielder ripped a ball into center to plate Groce and Shepherd.
Preston Millsaps later drove in Noble on a fielder’s choice.
Elkin had to play from behind the rest of the night, and while the Elks remained competitive, they never could catch back up.
Daniel Brinegar drew a bases loaded walk for Elkin in the third inning to make the game 4-2. But West Wilkes answered in the bottom of the third inning with a run after an Elkin error.
Shepherd had an RBI single for West in the fourth inning. Hayden Snow hit a solo home run for the Elks in the top of the fifth but again the Blackhawks responded. Alex Minton doubled to start the bottom of the fifth and Preston Millsaps drove him home with a sac fly. An Elkin throwing error later allowed Nathan Chambers to come home.
Brinegar got Elkin’s sixth inning started with a walk. Seth Creed walked behind him. West Wilkes changed pitchers at this point, pulling eventual winner Shepherd in favor of Aiken.
Ted Shore got the best of Aiken, hitting a single into left field. One run came home, but another runner was thrown out at the plate, leaving the score 8-4. Ben Osborne hit a two-run double later in the inning. That brought the Elks’s Jamey Cranford to the plate. He worked the count full but Aiken earned a strikeout to shut down the rally.