Wolfpack Optimist win to force “winner-take-all” final game

With both teams guaranteed spots in the DYB Majors State tourney, the Columbus County-Wolfpack Optimist District 2 baseball game Wednesday night was a little about the size of the trophy and a lot about bragging rights. Wolfpack Optimist came away with a 7-5 win over Columbus County, forcing the teams to return to Riegelwood for a “winner-take-all” contest.

Jacob Jones put the Optimist up 2-0 with a first inning homer after Kyler Dowless had doubled. Franco Creazzola singled and Jordan Kelly walked in front of Thatcher Rooks’ triple in the second for a 4-0 Optimist lead. Myles Pollard’s base hit scored Rooks to make it 5-0.

Two singles by Bryan Stewart, doubles by Bug Ward, Matthew Ivey and Ty Bowen over the next two innings pulled the County within one. The game was tied when Brady Holcomb was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the top of the fourth. Whiteville retook the lead, 6-5, in the bottom of the fourth on a single by Fisher Soles and two-out double by Myles Pollard. Jacob Jones doubled for Optimist in the sixth, advanced to third on Cole Hibourn’s hit and scored on a wild pitch to make the final margin 7-5.

Wolfpack Optimist catcher Cole Hilbourn had a key “caught stealing” after Jamon Jackson’s single leading off the County sixth and prior to a double by Markell Simmons. Kyler Dowless came on in relief of Soles and recorded two strike outs to end the game.

Tonight’s (Thursday’s) game will be Columbus County’s sixth consecutive. As it now turns out,Wolfpack Optimist caught a break by losing to Columbus County on Sunday. The Optimist received a bye on Monday in the six-team double elimination tournament and will be playing for the fifth time.