WEST POINT, Ala. – After handling Athens on the road 10-0 earlier this week, the West Point Warriors returned home Thursday for a showdown with the Fairview Aggies. Branson Smith got the start on the mound for the Warriors and picked up a win after tossing five shutout innings that included just three hits and four strikeouts.
After the Aggies went three up, three down in the top of the first, the Warriors built a lead early in the bottom half of the inning. Back to back singles from Eli Folds and Smith put a pair of runners on the bases and Will Cochran drew a walk to load them up. Cleghorn singled into right field two pitches later to bring Folds and Smith home and take a 2-0 lead. Cleghorn later scored from third on a sacrifice fly by Carter Thornton to make it a 3-0 game going into the second inning.
A single from Bryceson Turner and a walk from Crimson Wright gave Fairview a couple of base runners in the top of the second but a strikeout gave the Warriors two outs, and they caught an Aggie in a rundown at third base to get out of the jam.
After a quick bottom of the second and a quick top of the third, West Point began adding to its lead in the bottom half of the third inning. Cochran and Cleghorn were both hit by a pitch to put a pair of runners on and Isaac Hoffpauir drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. Thornton then drew a walk to bring in a run and in the next at bat, JD Cochran was hit by a pitch to force home another run and make it a 5-0 game. Calden Rodgers kept the momentum going with an RBI single that made it 6-0 and Chase Sibley singled into center field to score Thornton and make it 7-0. JD Cochran scored on a sac fly by Folds and Rodgers crossed the plate on a passed ball to stretch the lead to 9-0 going into the fourth.
Singles by Dalton Payne and Levi Garner gave Fairview two more runners in the top half of the fourth but a fly ball and a strikeout by Smith got the Warriors out of another jam and back at the plate with a chance to end the game.
Isaiah Wylie was hit by a pitch to lead off the next frame for West Point and Thornton drew another walk to put runners on first and second. Cade Simmons walked to load up the bases and Wylie scored from third on a balk to give the Warriors a 10-0 lead. Smith came back out for the top of the fifth, needing just three more outs to complete the shutout win in five innings and got it done with just 12 pitches to ice the 10-0 win for West Point.
Cleghorn and Thornton each finished with 2 RBIs in the win. Sibley, Rodgers, Folds and JD Cochran each drove in a run for the Warriors as well. Payne, Garner and Turner posted the three hits for the Aggies in the loss.
West Point improves to 3-6 with the win and will be back home for a doubleheader against Hanceville and Southeastern starting at noon Saturday. Fairview will be on the road Saturday for a doubleheader at Decatur against Decatur Heritage and Priceville starting at 11 a.m.
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