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Stephens slugs grand slam; Lawrence Co. zaps NE Jones

LAUREL — The Lawrence County Cougars defeated the NortheastJones Tigers 11-2 in high school baseball action Friday afternoonat R.H. Watkins Field. Cougar sophomore Trent Hartzog worked 5solid innings to run his record to 2-0 on the young season, andjunior left-fielder Johnathan Stephens broke open a tight game witha fourth-inning grand slam, as LCHS ran its record to 3-1.

“It was a good win,” said first-year Lawrence County coach CoryKeyes, “but it wasn’t as easy as the score might indicate. Wereally had to battle against some very decent pitchers, and webenefited from some base running errors on their part. It was atougher game than the score shows.”

A Marty Ballard RBI single handed Lawrence County a 1-0 lead inthe top of the second. In the third, a Trent Hartzog single, aStephens sacrifice fly, and a Taebyus Smith groundout, produced 2more runs, and a 3-0 lead.

In the bottom of the third, Northeast Jones battled back intothe game. Eric Lindsey and Justin Smith had run-scoring hits as theTigers cut Lawrence County’s lead to 3-2. Smith, Northeast’s secondbaseman, went 3 for 3 in the game, with 2 doubles.

In the top of the fourth, Nick Jackson, Joseph Evans, and JeremyWilliams each had singles for Lawrence County, but it was JohnathanStephens’s mammoth clout which blew the game open. Stephens’s grandslam, his second homer of the season, skipped off the top ofWatkins Field’s 10-foot high center-field wall, 380 feet from homeplate. The Cougars led 10-2 and were never seriously threatenedafter that.

In 5 innings of work, Hartzog allowed 2 runs on 4 hits, andstruck out 4. Hartzog and the Cougars got the benefit of 3 majorbaserunning blunders by the Tigers.

“Trent had a pretty good day,” said long-time Cougar assistantCraig Davis, “and we made most of the plays behind him. Northeastdid have some major snafus on the bases, though, and they came atopportune times for us.”

Mackenzie Woods and Joseph Evans pitched the sixth and seventhinnings, respectively. They each allowed 1 hit and struck out1.

Hartzog and Stephens led Lawrence County with 2 hits each.Evans, Williams, Jackson, Ballard, Jake Russell and MichaelThompson each had one.