Lawrence drills Poplarville 6-1

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, April 26, 2006

MONTICELLO — The Lawrence County High Cougars defeated thePoplarville Hornets 6-1 in MHSAA 4A Regional baseball actionThursday night at Jimmie Davis Park.

The Cougars rode the 4-hit pitching of Trent Hartzog and a 3-runfirst-inning homerun by Taebyus Smith to the win.

The win pushes Lawrence County into a winners’ bracket gameagainst St. Stanislaus today at noon. St. Stanislaus advanced intothe winners’ bracket with a 4-3 win over Brookhaven (see relatedarticle). Brookhaven plays Poplarville at 3 p.m. The loser of thefirst game will play the winner of the second game at 6 p.m.

With the win over Poplarville, Lawrence County ran its record to25-3 on the season. Poplarville fell to 9-17.

“We played a pretty good game,” said second-year Lawrence Countycoach Cory Keyes, “but their pitcher did a good job of keeping usoff-balance with a lot of breaking stuff. Trent did a good job forus, too, and we defended pretty well behind him.”

There were only 6 hits in the game, with each team getting 3.The biggest blow came in the first inning. After Joseph Evans ledoff the bottom of the first, and Hartzog singled to left, Smith hita 3-run homer over the left field fence. As it turned out, that’sall Hartzog needed.

Hartzog carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning, and ashutout into the sixth. Travis Magee’s fourth-inning flair spoiledthe no-hit bid. In the sixth, Hornet right-fielder Thatcher Lee hita ground-ruled double, and was singled home by first baseman SethCarver.

Poplarville curve-baller Ashley Graeter was also extremelyeffective. After Smith’s first-inning blast, Graeter held theCougars hitless through the second, third, fourth, and fifthinnings. The Cougars finally broke through in the sixth, when MartyBallard hit a solo homer to right-center. After that, a walk, twohit batsmen, and Hornet miscues led to 2 more insurance runs forLawrence County.

Hartzog allowed 3 hits and struck out 7. Graeter allowed 3 hitsand struck out 3.

The tournament will conclude on Saturday, with only thetournament winner advancing to the next round of the state 4Aplayoffs.