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Lawrence County girls eliminate Brookhaven

MONTICELLO — A pair of Division 6-4A archrivals met Saturdayafternoon at Cougar Field in one-half of the Class 4A South Stateslow-pitch softball semifinals. Brookhaven and Lawrence County areno strangers to one another.

The Lady Cougars took advantage of the home field and swept apair of high-scoring affairs from the Lady Panthers, 13-10 and27-12.

Lawrence County (29-3) advances to the South State championshipseries where they host the Petal Lady Panthers Tuesday. Game timeswill be determined on Monday. Petal eliminated Florence.

Brookhaven, the division runner-up, ends their outstandingseason at 21-8.

Lawrence Co. 13, Brookhaven 10

Both teams took advantage of the short dimensions (225 footoutfield fence) of Cougar Field, combining for 10 home runs in bothgames. Brookhaven had 4 homers and Lawrence County delivered 6.There were 3 ties and 6 lead changes during the 7-inningmatch-up.

The Lady Panthers (21-7), coached by Lisa Covington and JohnOgden, opened the scoring in the top of the first, taking a 3-0lead. Ashley Sykes hit a 3-run homer, scoring Megan Bateman andAllyson Wallace.

Lawrence County would take the lead at 12-10 in the bottom ofthe fifth inning scoring 6 runs. A 2-RBI double by Kaila Givensscored KeKe Slay and Cori Walker to give the Lady Cougars thego-ahead runs.

In the top of the sixth, Brookhaven appeared to have tied thegame at 12-12.

With 2 out, leftfielder Lauren Smith singled. Two batters later,pitcher Brittany Smith sent a 1-1 pitch screaming over the centerfield fence for an apparent home run. After the homer by BrittanySmith, home plate umpire Paul Carter retrieved a fresh ball fromhis ball bag to give to Lady Cougar pitcher Stacy Smith.

Several fans on the Lawrence County side of the bleachers beganto scream that Lauren Smith did not touch home plate. LawrenceCounty head coach Tarvey Ward told his pitcher to throw to homeplate and the home run by the Lady Panthers was erased off thescoreboard.

“That was the momentum that changed the game,” said Coach TarveyWard.

Offensively, Lawrence County was led by Stacy Smith who homered,doubled, scored 3 runs and had 2 RBIs. Slay had 3 singles. EmilySmith homered and singled twice.

For Brookhaven, Sykes went 4-for-4 with a pair of homers and 2singles, scored 3 times and had 4 RBIs. Bateman had a home run, asingle and a double. Lauren Smith singled twice and scored 2runs.

Stacy Smith authored the win for Lawrence County, while BrittanySmith suffered the loss for Brookhaven.

Lawrence Co. 27, Brookhaven 12

Brookhaven (21-8) was the designated home team for Game 2. Butit would be the Lady Cougars who opened the scoring on their hometurf.

Lawrence County led 15-0 after 3 innings, collecting 18 hits.Emily Smith and Stacy Smith each hit a home run in the secondinning. The Lady Cougars sent 10 batters to the plate in each ofthe first 3 innings.

Brookhaven assistant coach John Ogden was ejected from the gamein the top of the second inning. The Lady Cougars were turning apotential, inning-ending double play. On the play at first, ChristiMartin had clearly beaten the throw by a step.

Carter, calling the bases in the nightcap, called Martin out.Ogden and Martin exchanged words. Ogden accidentally brushed Carteron his shirt sleeve and Carter quickly sent Ogden out of theballpark.

“We hit the ball well in the first 3 innings,” said Ward. “Butgive Brookhaven credit, they didn’t give up. Lisa (Covington)coaches them well.”

The Lady Panthers cut their deficit to 17-3 in the bottom of thefourth. Portia Dickey, Crane and Kelly Vinson scored forBrookhaven. Vinson, Prince and Bateman had RBI singles in theinning.

Brookhaven erupted for 7 runs in the bottom of the fifth, butstill trailed 18-10 heading into the sixth inning.

“I am proud of the girls today,” said Covington, following thegame. “They kept on fighting until the end.”

Sykes paced Brookhaven with 5 hits, including 4 singles and adouble. Bateman had 3 singles and a double. Crane scored 3 runs andhad 3 singles. Brittany Smith suffered the loss for Brookhaven.

Lawrence County got a pair of home runs from Stacy Smith andEmily Smith. Stacy Smith picked up the win for the LadyCougars.