CANTON -- White Oak had an early-season test against Elkhart on Thursday.

Behind starting pitcher Eric Wilkinson's complete game, the Roughnecks passed it with flying colors in a 9-4 win in the first game of the I-20 Baseball Classic in Canton.

Wilkinson, a junior, scattered five hits over seven innings, allowing three earned runs while striking out seven. He also had a good day at the plate, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs.

"Eric is a veteran player for us," said White Oak coach Charles Foshee. "He's been really solid for us the last couple years on the mound, and has really stepped up this year pitching-wise. He's already thrown three excellent ball games. That's huge for us, being we are still missing a few key players. He does a great job of throwing strikes and keeping it low in the zone."

White Oak's Jeremy Pike complemented Wilkinson's big day with a 2-for-4 performance that included a double and three RBIs.

"I just went up there and threw strikes," Wilkinson said. "I let my defense work and threw strikes. At the plate, I was just two-strike hitting. Making sure to put the ball in play, and score some runs with the bases loaded."

Elkhart, which was ranked preseason No. 3 in Class 2A by the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association, started the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the first thanks to two Roughnecks errors and Jordan Smith's RBI single.

White Oak scored the next five runs -- one in the second and four in the fifth. Trey Chain and Wilkinson hit consecutive fifth-inning RBI singles, followed by Pike's two-RBI double, giving White Oak the 5-2 lead.

Elkhart answered with two more in the bottom of the fifth on RBIs from Cole Bridges and Jacob Cheatham, but White Oak pulled away with three more in the top of the sixth and one insurance run in the seventh.

On the mound, Cheatham went 4 2/3 innings and gave up four earned runs on six hits.


I-20 Baseball Classic

White Oak 9, Elkhart 4

Canton High School

White Oak -- 010 043 1 -- 9 10 4
Elkhart -- 200 020 0 -- 4 5 2

WO -- Eric Wilkinson and Lane Newton
E -- Jacob Cheatham, Jackson Adair, Mason Huffines and Cole Bridges.

WP -- Wilkinson
LP -- Cheatham

2B -- E: Bridges