NEJ’s Reid Reynolds (12) and West Lauderdale courtesy runner Eli Bryan get tangled up at third base during the Knights’ two-out, five-run rally in the third inning. (Photo by Mark Thornton)

Tough Knight for NEJ

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West Lauderdale wins big in region showdown

Northeast Jones’ winning streak came to an abrupt end at The Jungle on Tuesday night.

Kameron Partridge struck out 12 and sprinkled three singles over six innings, and he went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs to lead perennial power West Lauderdale to a 9-0 win in a battle of undefeated region foes.

“They did what we were trying to do,” said NEJ coach Jeremy Parker, whose team had won 13 in a row. “They hit the ball where it was pitched; they didn’t try to kill it. We were trying to hit it as hard as he threw it.”

NEJ starter Reid Reynolds was dueling with Partridge for the first two innings, and he was a strike away from getting out of the third when Braden Luke ripped an RBI double to right field to launch a two-out, five-run rally.

Cleanup hitter Hunter Ethridge was then intentionally walked and catcher Chase Tilghman made the Tigers pay. He laced a two-run double down the left-field line, and Turbo McGee (3-for-4, double, 2 RBIs) followed with an RBI single and Partridge doubled in a run to chase Reid.

“Reid started out throwing well for us,” Parker said, noting that all five of the runs were unearned after the No. 9 leadoff batter reached base on a throwing error. But NEJ center-fielder Dayvis McLeod made a nice diving catch and Reid got an infield popup for the second out before the middle of the lineup started cranking out the hits.

Partridge (6-0), who has struck out 59 and walked five in 34 innings, kept the Tigers’ big bats at bay all night. They came into the contest batting .365 as a team. After NEJ catcher Keagan Ward legged out an infield single to start the second, the junior right-hander struck out five in a row. Other than two-out singles by Reid and Cole Mozingo in the third and fourth, respectively, Partridge retired the rest of the batters he faced, and freshman Mason Willis finished the job in the seventh, with three up, three down.

Parker said his team needs to shake off this loss — their first since Feb. 26 — and get ready to play the Knights again tonight (Thursday) in Collinsville. Patrick Little (5-0), who has struck out 39 and walked four in 24 innings, will be on the mound for the Tigers (15-2, 4-1 region) facing Southern Miss commit Ben Ethridge (5-0), who has struck out 42 and walked six in 24 innings for the Knights (15-2, 5-0).

One bright spot for the Tigers on Tuesday night was sophomore right-hander Shelby Nowell, who took over with the bases loaded in the fifth inning. After allowing a double and a walk to the first two batters he faced, he gave up only one hit and didn’t walk any the rest of the way.

“That was a big step forward,” Parker said.