By Tony Ciuffo
Right-handed pitcher Cordes Baker struck out 10 and Brice Kirven collected two hits and drove in a run that helped 3rd-ranked Lexington to a 4-2 win over 2nd-ranked Blythewood in the season opener for both schools in the Red Bank Invitational (RBI) high school baseball tournament at White Knoll Field on Wednesday.
The game marked a rematch of last year’s AAAA state championship series won in three games by Lexington including a 4-0 victory before nearly 7,000 in the series finale at Carolina Stadium.
Baker (1-0) earned the win allowing no runs on just one hit with two walks over the first 5 1/3 innings. He struck out two batters in the first, second, third and fifth innings. He had one strikeout in the fourth inning and struck out Tyler Romanik leading off the sixth before giving way to Michael Smoak. Smoak pitched the final 1 2/3 innings for the save.
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Lexington grabbed the lead in the third inning. Will Lacount and Ryan Brown singled with two outs and courtesy runner Smoak scored on Kirven’s single that gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.
Lexington extended its lead in the sixth inning. Justin Bowers walked leading off the frame, moved to second on a wild pitch and raced to third on a ground out. Bowers scored on a two-out wild pitch for a 2-0 Wildcats advantage. Jordan Buster drew the first of three straight two out walks and scored on another wild pitch to give Lexington a 3-0 lead.
In the seventh inning, Kirven reached on a one out single and eventually scored on Bowers’ single to center for a 4-0 Lexington lead. Blythewood got a run-scoring double from Connor Grant and an RBI single from Romanik in the seventh inning for the final margin.
Drew Ellis (0-1) suffered the loss surrendering a run on five hits with seven strikeouts over the first five innings.
The Wildcats (1-0) are scheduled to play No. 6 West Ashley in second round RBI play on Friday at 12:00.