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LCHS turns back Natchez Bulldogs

MONTICELLO-The Lawrence County Cougars defeated the NatchezBulldogs 11-8 in high school baseball action Saturday afternoon atJimmie Davis Park. The Cougars plated six runs in the bottom of thethird, overcoming an early deficit, and taking the lead forgood.

“This was not a good ballgame,” said second-year LCHS coach CoryKeyes, whose team improved to 10-1 with the win. “We created a holefor ourselves, and while we came back to win the game, we neverreally took charge of it.

“It was sort of a sluggish day,” Keyes continued, “coming off avery late night at Florence. Those Friday night divisiondoubleheaders take a lot out of you, but you’ve still got to comeout here and play on Saturday.”

One Cougar who did manage to have a very good Saturday wasjunior Joseph Evans. Manning the designated hitter role, to rest aweary pitching arm, Evans went 3-for-4, with 3 doubles and 3 runsscored. Evans had homered in each game of the Cougars’ doubleheadersweep of Florence on Friday.

“Joseph was seeing it well this weekend,” Keyes said, “as wasNick (Jackson), Taebyus (Smith), and several others. While wedidn’t play a great game today, it wasn’t a total bust. We didn’tstrike out a single time in the game. That’s a pretty goodaccomplishment.”

LCHS took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Evans led offwith the first of his 3 doubles, and was singled home by shortstopTrent Hartzog. But Natchez took advantage of 3 bases on balls, andan Ed Johnson double, to take a 2-1 lead in the top of thesecond.

First baseman Nick Jackson stayed hot, belting a solo homer inthe bottom of the second that knotted the game at 2-2. In thebottom of the inning, however, 4 more bases on balls, along withsingles by Keith Ferbos and Desmond Smoot, pushed the Bulldogs to a5-2 lead.

Johnathan Stephens relieved Lawrence County starter MartyBallard in the third. After forcing in a run by walking the firstbatter he faced, Stephens settled in worked 5 full innings to earnthe win.

“Nine of the first 17 Natchez batters walked,” Keyes said. “Wewere fortunate to overcome that and win this game. Johnathan wasbasically a 1-pitch pitcher today, but, for the most part, he threwstrikes and gave us a chance.”

Lawrence County got 6 runs back in the bottom of the third,taking advantage of control problems by Natchez pitchers. TaebyusSmith had 2 hits in the inning, including a key 2-run double.Jackson had a single in the frame. LCHS led 8-5.

Natchez got 2 more in the top of the fourth, to cut LawrenceCounty’s lead to 8-7. Lawrence County scored a single run in thebottom of the inning. Catcher Zachary Summers got a 2-out single,and scored on Evans’ second double of the game. Five bases on ballspushed across a Cougar run in the sixth, making it a 10-7 game.

Natchez cut the Cougar lead to 10-8 with a single run in thesixth. Lawrence County got that run back in the bottom of theinning. After Evans’ third double of the game, he scored on aStephens sacrifice fly.

In 5 innings, Stephens allowed 6 hits and struck out 5. Ballardstruck out 5 in 2-plus innings, but was hampered by controlproblems.

John Williams started for Natchez. He was relieved in the thirdby Ed Johnson, who shined for the Bulldogs at shortstop. CameronLogan finished the game on the mound for Natchez. Keith Ferbos had3 hits for the Bulldogs.