LCHS eludes Ole Brook

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Joseph Evans won a pitching duel Friday night and the LawrenceCounty Cougars maintained their lead in the Division 6-4A race.Evans tossed a 4-hitter as the Cougars beat Ole Brook’s Panthers3-2 on Moyer Field.

Evans, a 5-foot-10, 155-pound red-headed sophomore, raised hisrecord to 4-0 on the season. He struck out 7 batters and walked3.

“It was tough out there,” said Evans. “I didn’t have any of mygood pitches and I was about four miles below what I usually throw.I started with my two-seam fastball but I changed to my four-seamin the fourth and it worked better.”

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Evans averages around 82-83 miles per hour with his fastball. Hedidn’t allow an extra-base hit until the bottom of the seventh whenfirst baseman Darius Perkins led off with a line drive homer downthe left field line.

The Cougars, with just two seniors in the starting lineup,climbed to 13-3 overall and 4-0 in the division race. Brookhaven,the defending Class 4A state champion, fell to 5-8 and 2-3,trailing second place Terry, McComb and Jim Hill in the divisionrace.

LCHS rookie head coach Corey Keyes has seen his share of OleBrook/Lawrence County confrontations over the years. Keyes comparedit to the Ole Miss-Mississippi State rivalry.

“It’s always a hard-fought game,” said Keyes. “You can throw outthe record books.”

Keyes praised his southpaw hurler. “Joseph is a real competitor.You can’t drag him off the mound. He works hard to win.”

The Cougars were locked in a 1-1 tie after 2 innings. They left12 runners stranded on base in the game but managed to score twicein the sixth. Jeremy Williams led off with a sharp single betweenshortstop and third base. Evans, the leadoff batter, put down abunt and was safe on a fielding error.

Trent Hartzog put down a bunt between the mound and third base.Panther pitcher Paxton King kicked the ball and hurriedly scoopedit up, throwing off balance for an attempted force at third base.The throw was wide and two runners scored.

“Paxton was playing hard and tried to make an athletic play,”said BHS coach Randy Spring. “It just didn’t work out.”

King (0-2), a freshman left-hander, kept the Cougars off balancewith offspeed pitches. He allowed 1 earned run, struck out 8 andwalked 5.

“Paxton has pitched well in three or four games,” said Spring.”Sooner or later, we’re going to get him a win.”

Spring said the Cougars played exceptionally well. “LawrenceCounty didn’t make any errors. Evans competed and pitched hard.They play really well behind him. They executed their bunts realwell.”

In the top of the second inning, King hit Michael Thompson andNick Jackson back-to-back. McKenzie Woods connected on ahit-and-run play, picking up and RBI and 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the second, Ole Brook gained a 1-1 deadlock.Zach Watson led off with a single up the middle and went to secondon a sacrifice bunt by Cole Newell. King hit a blooper which fellbehind first base. Elliott Warren laid down a bunt and Watson slidhome with the tying run.

In the junior varsity game, Corey Jones pitchedLawrence County to a 6-1 win over the Panthers.