Locked in a tight pitching duel, the Knights scored four two-out runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to give themselves some breathing room and beat Effingham County 7-2 on Friday.
“With two outs they’ve been battling,” said Knights head coach Ricky Beale, whose squad improved to 3-4 on the year and ran its Region 2B-AAAA record to 1-1.
The Knights entered the crucial sixth inning leading 3-2, largely in part to sophomore left-hander Garrett Wilkinson.
Wilkinson (1-2) had all four of his pitches working and wasn’t affected by a line drive that hit him on the shin and knocked him down in the third inning. He dusted himself off and went on to finish five innings, giving up just one run on two hits with seven strikeouts.
“Coach asked me if I was I was OK, and I told him I was good,” said Wilkinson, who sported a large ace bandage on his left foot after the game.
Jeremy Clements made a sliding grab of a smash to the corner in left field to end the top of the fifth, which sent Wilkinson off the mound pumping his fists. He took that momentum into the Knights at-bat and singled home two runs to break a 1-1 tie.
Rebels’ starter Kyle Ward was matching Wilkinson with five strikeouts heading into the fifth but was taken out after walking the first two batters.
Reliever Jesse Whaley got the first two outs of the sixth inning for the Rebels (3-3, 0-1), then walked Kyle Anderson, Austin Hunter and Josh Roye to load the bases. With the runners going on a 3-2 pitch, Tyler Moore hit a high chopper behind the bag at second and beat the throw, plating two runs. Matt Anderson followed that with an RBI single and courtesy runner Jalen Saunders scored on a wild pitch.
With a big cushion, Moore pitched a perfect seventh after surrendering a run in the sixth inning.
Moore finished 2 for 2 with 2 RBI while Anderson was 2 for 4 with 2 RBI.