Thompson dulls Lancers; 4-run rally sparks Co-Lin

Published 5:00 am Friday, May 20, 2005

ST. CATHARINE, Ky. — Co-Lin pitcher Derek Thompson said a65-minute rain delay gave him a chance to charge his batteries. Thefreshman right-hander pitched a complete-game, 3-hitter Thursday,directing the Co-Lin Wolves to a 7-3 triumph over Lenoir (N.C.)Community College in the opening round of the Southeast SuperRegional.

Co-Lin (28-25-1) advances to Friday’s second round in thedouble-elimination tournament, meeting the Itawamba Indians (41-14)in a Magnolia State showdown at 12 noon CDT. Itawamba whipped thehost St. Catharine College Patriots 13-2 in Thursday’s other firstround game.

Lenoir (36-16) and St. Catharine (35-9) meet at 9 a.m. today inan elimination game. The survivor will play the loser of theCo-Lin/Itawamba contest at 3 p.m. today

Thompson, from Mendenhall (Simpson Academy) was tagged for 2runs in the sixth as the Lancers gained a 3-3 deadlock. After arain delay in the bottom of the sixth, he returned to the mound andheld Lenoir to 1 hit in the final 3 innings.

“The rain delay gave me a second wind,” said Thompson. He hadn’tpitched 9 full innings since high school.

Thompson only gave up 1 extra base hit, a fourth-inning solohomer to Lenoir shortstop Jes Snyder. It cleared the center fieldfence 400 feet away from home plate. He struck out 6 batters andwalked 3, allowing 2 earned runs.

Co-Lin head coach Keith Case was delighted with Thompson’s moundperformance. He had won the opening game in the Region 23 SouthRegional at Poplarville two weeks ago, beating the HindsEagles.

“The rain delay probably helped Derek,” said Case. “He waslaboring when it started raining. He got stronger after therain.

“Derek was a bulldog out there on the mound,” Case noted. “Hereally battled.”

Thompson threw 134 pitches in the game. Case asked him if he wastired.

“I tried to ignore the pitch-count,” said Thompson. “That rallywas a boost for us.”

Co-Lin teammates Patrick Williams and Garrett Jones slugged solohome runs after the tarps were removed from the field and theWolves took a 7-3 lead in the seventh. Xavier Qualls slashed a longtriple to the left-center field fence and scored Josh Logan. Quallsrounded third and scored on a throwing error from the outfield.

Asked about his pitching arsenal, Thompson said, “Mainly, Ilocated my fastball. My slider was working for me, too.”

Michael Oglesby (9-1) started for Lenoir and was replaced byJacob Allen after the rain delay. Allen (3-4) took the loss,allowing 4 runs on 6 hits.

Qualls gave Co-Lin a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Williamssingled and Jody Britt walked to load the bases. Qualls raced homeon a passed ball, avoiding the tag of Lancer catcher Joe Wade.

In the seventh, Qualls hit an RBI single and scored on theoverthrow at third base. The freshman rightfielder from Brookhavenfinished with 3 hits.

“I just hit it (triple) in the gap,” said Qualls. “I put my headdown and made it go. Coach Case waved me home.

Garret Jones. a freshman third baseman from Natchez, hit histhird homer of the season in the seventh. “I knew I hit it prettygood” said Jones. “He (Allen) hung it up on a slider. I thought itmight hook foul but it stayed in.”

Williams, a sophomore shortstop from Crystal Springs, added tohis team-leading (10) home run total. It cleared the left fieldfence by a wide margin, at the 340 mark.

“I had been missing it (pitch) all day,” said Williams, a DeltaState signee. “I finally got ahold of one.”

Lenoir coach Lind Hartsell took his team to the World Series inMillington, Tenn., last year. He said his Lancers can still win theSuper Regional.

“Our bats weren’t very good today,” said Hartsell. “Theirpitcher did a great job and Co-Lin is a solid team, a lot likeus.

“O (Oglesby) wasn’t real sharp today,” he continued. “He had 89pitches.”

The Wolfpack collected 11 hits. Qualls was followed by Williams,designated hitter Ben Sandifer, and leftfielder Joseph Langham with2 hits apiece. The Wolves scored twice in the second and led 3-0.Sandifer scored on a sacrifice fly by Josh Logan and Qualls singledto score Scotty Smith who had reached on an error.