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Champs Take Game One in Battle of Bedford Series vs Vikes

Noah Maddox
Posted 4/2/24

The Cascade Champions emerged victorious in Game One of the "Battle of Bedford" series against the Community Vikings, 9-1, on Monday.

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Champs Take Game One in Battle of Bedford Series vs Vikes


Walker Craig tallied a season-high 12 strikeouts, Sawyer Lovvorn hammered his fifth home run of the season, and the Cascade Champions pulled away with a five-run sixth inning in their 9-1 victory over cross-county rival Community in game one of the “Battle Of Bedford”  district series on Monday night in Bell Buckle.

Craig, who now has 35 strikeouts through his first four outings this season, went six complete innings on the mound, only allowing two hits and five walks on 96 pitches. The one run given up was unearned due to a pair of errors in the field in the top of the sixth inning.

Kaleb Maillett got the nod for the visiting Community Vikings, going five complete innings, and he tallied eight strikeouts to just three walks on 97 pitches. He did give up four runs, including a two-run home run to Cascade slugger Sawyer Lovvorn in the fifth inning, but only one run, Lovvorn, was earned. Maillett only gave up one other hit – a single immediately after Lovvorn’s homer to Craig – and overall he kept an extremely potent lineup at bay. 

Kaleb Maillett (21) went 5.0 innings on Monday, striking out 8 and only giving up two hits.
Kaleb Maillett (21) went 5.0 innings on Monday, striking out 8 and only giving up two hits.

It was a pitchers duel through the first four innings, as the only runs for either side came for Cascade on a trio of passed balls in the bottom of the third inning, allowing Connor Melson and Braxtyn Burris – courtesy running for the pitcher Craig – to come home.

Community’s only threatening moment of the game came in the top of the fifth while still trailing 2-0. Case Davis took a one out walk, leadoff hitter, Maki Fleming, was hit by a pitch with two strikes and two outs, and Josh Powers lined a base hit into right field to load the bases with two away. Regardless, Craig settled in on the mound, striking out the three-hole hitter in Drew Harris on the seventh pitch of the at-bat to leave all three runners stranded. 

The Cascade offense seemed to take the hint in the home half of the inning. First, Jordan Childress led off the inning by reaching first base safely on a dropped pop-up in the infield. Then, on a 2-1 pitch, Lovvorn hit a towering blast over the left field wall for his fifth home run of the season that doubled Cascade’s lead to 4-0. 

Sawyer Lovvorn (19) hit his team-leading 5th HR of the season on Monday.
Sawyer Lovvorn (19) hit his team-leading 5th HR of the season on Monday.

Community would then score their only run of the game in the top of the sixth. A dropped third strike to the cleanup hitter, Elijah Westbrooks, led off the inning, and after a low throw from catcher James Magee that allowed Westbrooks to get all the way to third base, he would come home to score when Magee threw down to second with one out trying to throw out Luke Davis stealing second base.

Craig then settled down to rack up his final three strikeouts of the night to get out of the inning with Community only scoring the one run. 

The Champions bats then exploded against the new Vikings’ pitcher, left-hander Thomas Bowling, tallying five runs during the home half in response. Childress drove home the first two runs on a single into left field, followed by Logan Green and Logan Pulley both recording an RBI on singles themselves. 

Bowling faced 10 batters in the sixth as Cascade batted around, and by the time Community came back to the plate on offense, their deficit had increased from three runs to eight at 9-1. Zach Crosslin came out to the mound to record the final three outs, and he was able to work around a one-out double unscathed thanks to a pair of strikeouts to close the door officially on Community. 

The Vikings fall to 7-7 (0-1) on the season after their district opener.

Cascade improves to 8-4 (2-1) with game two of the series between the sides postponed until Wednesday.

Cascade Champions, Community Vikings, Sawyer Lovvorn, Walker Craig, Kaleb Maillett