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Lawrence Co. rides division momentum

MONTICELLO — First-year Lawrence County head coach Cory Keyeshopes the magic and momentum continue in the Class 4A stateplayoffs. Keyes sends his Cougars against Wayne County tonight at7, in Jimmie Davis Park on the LCHS campus.

In today’s opener, McComb, the Division 6-4A No. 3 team, meetsQuitman at 4. Regional play continues Friday with today’s winnersplaying at noon. First round losers play at 3. The noon loser playsthe winner of the 3 p.m. game at 6.

On Saturday, the championship game is set for noon. A secondgame, if necessary, would be played at 3 p.m.

“Wayne County has a good left-handed pitcher,” said Keyes. “Theyare a well-coached, real scrappy team.”

Keyes said the War Eagles are in a tough Division 5-4A withNortheast Lauderdale, West Jones and Quitman. Northeast won thedivision.

“We need to have a good game against them,” predicted Keyes. Heonly has two seniors in his starting lineup.

The Cougars are 22-5 on the season. They finished 11-1 in thedivision race, their only loss coming at the hands of Terry’sBulldogs, the division runner-up.

On the mound, sophomore pitcher Joseph Evans leads the team witha 5-1 record. The right-hander has a 2.06 ERA. He’s struck out 55batters in 47 innings.

Junior right-hander Jake Russell (5-1) has a 1.72 ERA. He’s got60 strikeouts in 36 innings.

Trent Hartzog (8-1), a sophomore right-hander, has a 1.11 ERA.He has 39 strikeouts in 44 innings.

At the plate, junior outfielder Johnathan Stevens is batting.459 with 5 homers and 35 RBIs.

Evans is batting .400, with 2 homers and 20 RBIs. Taeybyus Smithis batting .397 with 5 homers and 23 RBIs. Senior outfielderMichael Thompson bats .316 with 5 homers and 25 RBIs.

Thompson has been selected to play in the Crossroads All-StarGame this summer.

As a team, the Cougars are batting .349. They have 28 homers totheir credit.

Keyes said his starting lineup for tonight’s game includes NickJackson at first base, Jeremy Williams at second base, TrentHartzog at shortstop, McKenzie Woods at third base, Evans on themound, Jake Russell at catcher, Jonathan Stevens in left field,Michael Thompson in center, Taebyus Smith in right field and MartyBallard serving as designated hitter.