ST. PAULS — Aaron Revels didn’t allow an earned run in six innings on the mound against Red Springs on Monday night, but a pair of passed balls was all the Red Devils needed to topple the Bulldogs 2-1 in a pitchers’ duel.
Revels struck out seven batters and allowed five hits for the Bulldogs, but Red Springs (7-4, 5-4 TRC) had runners score from third base on passed balls in the third and sixth innings to jump ahead.
Meanwhile, a strong performance on the mound by Darren Bowen made it difficult for the Bulldogs (3-7, 2-7 TRC) to retaliate. Bowen tallied 12 strikeouts against his former team while allowing just two hits in a complete-game effort.
“I felt good all night. I didn’t throw much last week, so I just wanted to come in and find my rhythm,” Bowen said. “I came out against Fairmont and didn’t do too well, so I wanted to get something going tonight.”
Bowen found his rhythm quickly against the Bulldogs, allowing his first hit of the game against in the second inning against Erikison Emmanuel after striking out the first two batters he faced in the inning. He finished off the side with another strikeout against Tristan Arenivas.
The Bulldogs’ second hit of the game resulted in its first and only run. D.J. Hinson knocked a two-out single into right field to plate Tyler Baker from second base.
Bowen wasn’t phased by the rally, registering another strikeout to end the inning.
The Bulldogs struggled to make contact against Bowen for the rest of the game. The junior cemented his win by striking out the first two batters he faced in the seventh inning.
“That’s probably the hardest I threw all night,” Bowen said.”I don’t try to throw my hardest every pitch. I try to let them put the ball in play a lot. That last inning, I just wanted to go out there and end the ballgame.”
Colton Locklear scored the first run for Red Springs in the third inning. He reached base on a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. An infield single by Tyee Sampson advanced Locklear to third base and put him in position to score on a passed ball.
Jordan Locklear accounted for the final run in the sixth inning after registering a two-out double. He stole third base before scoring.
Despite the close loss, St. Pauls head coach Matthew Hunt had some positive takeaways for his team.
“I see us taking steps forward,” Hunt said. “I think my kids are really stepping up to the plate. We’re playing good ball right now, but we’re still coming up short. I can’t take anything away from the guys. We just have to get over the hump.”
Colton and Coty Locklear both went 2-for-4 at the plate for Red Springs.
Hunt was impressed with Revels’ effectiveness against the Red Devils.
“They didn’t hit him hard. When they did hit him hard, it was an out,” Hunt said. “We’re still trying to get over that hump. The little things. I tell the guys, every time we go face an opponent, we don’t go in there trying to beat that opponent. We go in there trying to beat the game of baseball. When I say beat the game of baseball, it’s doing the little things.”
In the softball game, Kenija McGougan scored on a passed ball in extra innings to secure an 8-7 victory for St. Pauls (6-4, 5-4 TRC) against Red Springs (3-8, 1-8).
Danielle Gray went 2-for-4 at the plate with a pair of RBIs for the Lady Bulldogs. Destinee Lowery went 2-for-3 with one RBI.
The Lady Red Devils had seven players register one hit. Cheyenne Dial and Raven Cox both tallied an RBI.
Reach Brandon Tester at 910-816-1989 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Tester_Brandon.