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Dent carries Saints

Saints' pitcher Tyler Dent allowed one run on six hits and struck out five batters in nine innings for the win. | Courtesy of Patrick Henry Community College

Lurleen B. Wallace Community College pitcher Tyler Dent allowed one run on six hits and struck out five batters to help lead the third-ranked Saints to a 7-1 first round victory over Catawba Valley Community College at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Southeast Regional tournament in Martinsville, Va. Friday morning.

“Tyler Dent gave us a great pitching performance through nine innings,” Saints head coach Steve Helms said. “We put some runs together and got the job done.

With their win against Catawba Valley, the Saints will advance to play second-ranked Brunswick Community College today at 3 p.m. CST.

“We’ve got a tough opponent with Brunswick, who won their first game 14-0, so they’re definitely a very good team,” Helms said. “We’re going to have to bring our our ‘A’ game.”

The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the third inning, when the Saints scored two runs on one hit and two errors.

Jacob Bacon reached on a walk, and quickly stole second base. On a wild pitch to Chezz McCann, Bacon made it to third base.

Bacon then scored on a sac fly from Jeremy Williams.

The last run of the inning came when Shane Turner scored McCann on a single.

Catawba Valley cut the Saints’ lead to one run in the top of the fourth when Ethan Johnson tripled to left field to score Marshall McDonald.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Saints added two additional insurance runs on one hit and two errors.

Taylor Culbreth reached on a walk, and Bacon was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second.

Culbreth then advanced to third, and Boone Shear reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases.

Culbreth and Bacon both scored on errors by Catawba Valley.

The Saints added one run in the seventh inning on an RBI single from Chad Helms to score Ryan Waltman.

In the eighth inning, Shear hit a two-run home run to center field to seal the first round victory.

Helms said that T.J. Fleming — who is battling throat cancer — will be present at the game today, as he flew into Viriginia Friday.

“We’re going to try to compete as hard as we can,” Helms said. “T. J. is flying in to watch the game, and we’re excited for him to come and watch.”

McCann was 1-for-4 with one run; Williams was 0-for-3 with one run and one RBI; Shear was 1-for-4 with one run and two RBIs; Waltman was 1-for-4 with one run; Turner was 2-for-4 with one RBI; Helms was 2-for-4 with one RBI; Culbreth was 0-for-2 wihth one run; and Bacon was 0-for-2 with two runs.