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Knights rally to victory

By By Marty Stamper/EMG sports assistant
April 3, 2004
DECATUR If the West Lauderdale Knights go on to win the Division 5-3A baseball pennant this spring, they can thank Ricky Gardner for keeping them in the running.
Gardner, a freshman right-handed sidearmer, entered Friday's game at Newton County with the Knights trailing 3-1. Another Cougar run scored on a fielder's choice and two more crossed the plate on a double to the center-field wall by Josh Pender. After that, Gardner was in charge as the Knights rallied from a 6-1 deficit to take an 8-7 victory.
Gardner threw 4.2 innings of middle relief, striking out eight and allowing five hits, two walks and one hit batsman. He allowed only one run.
Newton County scored six runs in the bottom of the second inning to grab an early 6-1 lead. Robert Westbrook had a two-run double off the wall in center field and Pender added a two-bagger of his own to plate a pair of runs as Gardner relieved Knight starter Parker Temple with one out in the second.
West got two runs in the third, thanks to a double by Tyler Vick and a pair of Cougar errors.
The Knights closed to within 6-5 with two more runs in the fourth. The Cougars committed two more errors, and Snider had an RBI single and Austin Davis a sacrifice fly.
Newton County added a run in the bottom of the fourth as Jared Cavenaugh walked and Pender added a two-out RBI single.
West drew even at 7-7 with two runs in the fifth. Snider and Vick both drew bases-loaded walks off Cavenaugh, who came on in relief in the fifth.
The Knights scored the winning run in the sixth. Temple was hit by a pitch, went to third on a throwing error on Gardner's sacrifice bunt, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Caleb Dulaney.
Bo Davis threw the bottom of the seventh for a save. Newton County had the tying run at second base.
The Knights stranded 14 baserunners, leaving the sacks full in the first, fifth, and sixth frames.
Cavenaugh struck out eight in four innings of relief.
West had eight hits. Newton County committed seven errors, leading to six unearned runs. Cougar pitchers also issued seven walks.
Designated hitter Paxton Pace went 3-for-4 with a double and one RBI to lead West at the plate. Davis was 2-for-5.
Newton County had seven hits with Pender going 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Westbrook added a two-run double.