The Watauga Junior American Legion baseball team kept its winning touch alive in game one of Wendesday's night scheduled double header with South Caldwell before dropping the second game at Pioneer Field. Watauga (5-5 in Area 4 and
5-6-1 overall) rallied for two runs in the bottom of the fifth and defeated South Caldwell 3-2 in the opener, but the South dominated game two, winning 7-1.
Watauga won the opener in much the same way as it won on Tuesday against West Caldwell. Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth, Watauga scored twice to win the game. Tyler Sturgill, who had two doubles and three runs-batted-in Tuesday night's double-header sweep, came through again with a two-out, run-scoring double in the fifth inning that tied the game.
Jesse Illich kept the inning alive as he reached on a dropped third-strike passed ball.
"We didn't hit it well, but we found a way to pull it out," said Watauga coach Bradley Rudisill. "It's the little things that decide games like this. Jesse getting on base was huge for us. It gave us another chance and we jumped on it."
Watauga only made three hits in game one. And with runners at second and third, the winning run scored on a ball four wild pitch with Adam Greene at the plate. Sturgill, who moved to third on a double steal, scored the winning run. Carson Isaac had two of Watauga's hits in the opener, including a triple to start the game. He scored on a wild pitch moments later. Greene picked up the win. He went the distance, and gave up four hits, no earned runs, struck out three and walked two.
In game two, Watauga was held to one hit. The Junior Legion scored its only run on a bases-loaded walk to Anthony Raymond in the third inning.
"We really should have scored more runs in that inning," Rudisill said. "When you're playing a Jeff Parham-coached team, you have to make the most of your chances. We didn't do that."
Andy Gilliam suffered the loss. He went 2 2/3 innings and gave up four runs, two earned, on two hits with four strikeouts, and a pair of walks. But Watauga made five errors and gave up five walks as a team. Sturgill had three strikeouts in a little more than an inning of work in his relief appearance.
The Junior Legion takes on Hibriten Friday at 6 p.m. in a rescheduled game that was rained out Monday night; the Saturday game with the Hibriten "B" Team has been canceled because that team has folded.