Nation Ford players prepare for their game against Clover on Wednesday night. The Falcons won game 2 of the series, 7-2 (Photo courtesy of Keith Cooke).

The intensity going into Nation Ford’s first game against Clover had settled down by the time the Falcons took the field Wednesday night at Clover. Although the Falcons players knew that this series would continue to be a battle against a much improved Blue Eagles team, getting the first win under their belt on Monday night took a good bit of the anxiety away.

Senior pitcher Bradley Bott got the nod for the start on Wednesday night. The UNC-Greensboro signee didn’t disappoint Falcons players or fans, striking out seven in four innings while only allowing two hits and a run to the host Blue Eagles. Bott kept the Blue Eagles batters off balance throughout his performance, often times fooling them into wild swings or just looking at the ball going past them. After Bott was finished for the night on the mound with his win effectively secured, Hudson Mankin came in and finished the game with three innings of strong relief, earning the save.

Unlike game one, the Falcons’ offense sputtered until the third inning. Designated hitter Jeffery Maidhof opened the scoring for Nation Ford with a line single to right field, scoring Bott, who had reached on an error by Clover second baseman Kollin Crepeau. The very next batter, center fielder Nathan Mahaffey, then laid down a perfect bunt to the right of Blue Eagles’ pitcher Nathan Hensley, allowing shortstop Tyler Causey to score to make it 2-0 Falcons.

After a Clover score in the fourth, the Falcons put it away in the fifth when pinch hitter Mitch Kyzer doubled in Noah Petty and Steven Johnson. First baseman Magdiel Cotto tripled in Justin Kelso and second baseman Xavier Cumbee singled to score Cotto to close out Nation Ford’s scoring for the game in the seventh inning. Maidhof and Cotto paced the Falcons’ offense with two hits apiece.

The series returns to Nation Ford on Friday night at 6:00pm for its third and final game. Nation Ford improves to 9-5 overall and 3-2 in Region 3-5A play, while Clover drops to 8-6 and 2-3, respectively.