Lawrence Co. hunts win over E. Central

Published 5:00 am Thursday, May 5, 2005

MONTICELLO — What can Jake Russell do for an encore? Thetalented pitcher has drawn the starting nod for Lawrence Countytonight when the Cougars host East Central in the South State 4Asemifinals title game at Jimmie Davis Park. Game time is 6 p.m.

Russell, a junior right-hander, beat the Hornets last Friday atMonticello, swatting a grand slam homer in a 5-1 triumph. Hehandcuffed East Central with a 2-hitter, striking out 3batters.

“We have to get another good pitching performance out of JakeRussell,” said Lawrence County head coach Cory Keyes. “We need toplay good defense and get some timely hitting.”

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After a Saturday rainout, the Cougars (26-6) played East Central(20-10) at Hurley Monday night and lost 8-5. An 8-hit, 6-run thirdinning was decisive.

The Cougars fell behind 7-1 and left 10 runners on base in thelast 5 innings. They finished with 14 hits.

“East Central is good ballclub,” said Keyes. “They bunch theirhits together when they need them. They have real good pitching,too.”

Russell (7-1) hit a grand slam homer last Friday to beat EastCentral 5-1. He hit a solo homer Monday at East Central.

J. R. Ballenger pitched East Central’s win. Adam McQueencollected 3 hits for the Hornets.

Keyes said Zachary Summers will start at catcher for theCougars. Nick Jackson is at first base, Jeremy Williams at secondbase. Trent Hartzog at shortstop, Joseph Evans at third base,Jonathan Stephens in left field, Michael Thompson in center andTaebyus Smith in right. Marty Ballard is serving as designatedhitter.

In Monday’s loss, Jackson had 3 hits. Russell (LC), SmithStephens and Hartzog had 2 hits.

Petal will face the winner of tonight’s game in the South Statefinals, starting Saturday. Petal swept Terry in the othersemifinals series, winning 4-0 and 17-7.