Lexington defeats White Knoll, honors former state champion team

Members of the 1999 Class 4A state championship baseball team. Thomas Grant Jr. photos.

A toast to the past was given Wednesday night on the diamond by Lexington High School.

Members of the 1999 Class 4A state championship team were honored prior to the start of the Wildcats’ Game two matchup against White Knoll. The returning players were met with applause and hugged the current Lexington players during the pregame festivities.

Once the action began, Lexington rallied from an early deficit to defeat the Timberwolves 8-4 to even the three-game series.

“We had nine strikeouts on Monday night (a 3-1 loss to White Knoll), so we really worked hard on two-strike hitting at practice yesterday and we spent an hour doing it,” Lexington head coach Brian Hucks said. “So I thought it really paid off. We had some key, two-strike hits that extended innings and we’re able to scoring some runs. So, I’m really proud of how they bounced back. That was a tough loss Monday night. A sign of a resilient team and we’ve got a young group.”

White Knoll took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first of two RBI hits by Jacob Bannister. The Wildcats answered with three runs in the bottom of the second, only to have Bannister’s second RBI cut the lead to 3-2 and the Timberwolves load the bases with no outs.

Lefthander Will Wicker replaced starter Elijah Ogden on the mound. After sending his first pitch high off the back fence, Wicker proceeded to strike out the side and fanned six of the first seven batters faced in 2 2/3 innings of work.

“It got a little right hairy there,” Hucks said. “They got the bases loaded with nobody out and we made a pitching change and Will Wicker came in and did a tremendous job getting out of that jam.

Pitcher Will Wicker is congratulated by the Lexington coaches after striking out three White Knoll batters with the bases loaded in the third inning.

“That was a huge momentum swing right now. Their guy Wicker came in and threw great there in big situations and we weren’t able to produce,” White Knoll head coach Blake Roland said. “So, tip your cap to him. He did a great job.”

After a leadoff double by Blake Knight in the Bottom fourth, Landon McMahan belted an RBI triple to make it 4-2. Tristan Allen followed with a two-run single to force a pitching change for White Knoll.

A throwing error scored Bannister in the fifth to make it 6-3, but the Wildcats added insurance in the Bottom sixth on an RBI single by Ryan Toll and sacrifice fly by Knight.
Jonny Power relieved Wicker with two outs in the sixth. He gave up an RBI fielder’s choice by Grayson Endrenyl in the seventh, but managed to get a flyout with runners on second and third to end the game.

The rubber match of the series is set for Friday at White Knoll. “Good start from Alex Lyon, a sophomore,” said Roland when asked what it will take to win series. “He’s struggled a little bit this year, but he’ll be ready. Just mix it up. We were talking to our coaching staff. We walked eight guys, hit one and they scored eight runs. They walked four guys, hit one and we scored four runs. So, it’s very, very relative. Free bases and runs are very relative. So Alex needs to throw strikes, but we need to make good plays in the field. If we can minimize some damage, we’ve got a chance.”

Categories: Lexington, Lexington County, Sports