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West Lauderdale shut out by Morton

By By Will Bardwell / staff writer
March 31, 2004
COLLINSVILLE There were no fiery tantrums or long coaches' lectures from Jerry Boatner after West Lauderdale's 8-0 loss to Morton on Tuesday.
After a brief team meeting in the infield, Boatner walked back to the Knights' dugout, sat down and stared ahead blankly, dejected and alone.
This wasn't the first loss of the year for the fourth-ranked Knights, now 18-3, but it definitely hurt the most.
In a game West Lauderdale needed to win to stay on top of Division 5-3A, the Knights never had a chance. Morton, unranked in the statewide baseball poll, charged out of the gates for four runs in the first inning and never looked back.
Morton increased its lead to 5-0 in the third inning, and might have scored more if not for a diving catch by right fielder Drew Snider that ended the inning.
The Panthers tallied two more runs in the fourth and another in the sixth.
Meanwhile, Morton pitcher Trey Jones dominated West Lauderdale batters. The Knights were held to seven hits by Jones, who struck out eight and walked one in his complete game outing.
West Lauderdale created a handful of chances to break the shutout but never capitalized. The Knights left the bases loaded in the second inning, then stranded two more baserunners in the fourth inning after a leadoff single by Tyler Vick.
A Bo Davis double with one out in the seventh inning set West Lauderdale up with runners on second and third, but Jones worked out of the jam to preserve his shutout.
The loss leaves both West Lauderdale and Morton tied atop the division with 6-1 records. Should both teams remain tied through the end of the regular season, Morton would claim the No. 1 seed in the playoffs by virtue of a tie-breaker.
The eight-run setback is the latest in a series of losses that have become all too common for Boatner, who admitted he is worried about his team's morale. Since starting the season 15-0 and climbing to the top of the state baseball rankings, the Knights have lost three of their last six games.