Newell’s homers lift BHS over Lawrence Co.

Published 6:00 am Monday, March 5, 2007

MONTICELLO — Cole Newell found his groove Friday night atJimmie Davis Park. The Brookhaven senior blasted a pair of homeruns, including a 3-run shot in the top of the seventh which beatLawrence County’s Cougars 7-6 in a Division 6-4A showdown witnessedby 500 chilled fans.

Newell (6-2, 175), a slender right-hander, also took the moundin the sixth, relieving Paxton King. He struck out 4 of the 7batters he faced, including 2 in the bottom of the seventh.

The Cougars (6-2, 2-1), defending division champions, had forgeda 5-2 lead before the Panthers came to life. They had taken a 3-0lead in the first, plating 3 unearned runs.

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“It was a high fastball,” answered Newell when asked about his3-run homer to right-center off LCHS starter Trent Hartzog. “I wasfortunate to stay on top and drive it out of the park.”

One inning earlier, Newell had smashed a solo shot over the leftfield fence, pulling the Panthers within 5-3.

“It was pretty intense out there,” said Newell. “I’m glad Icould help win it.”

Newell had been in a recent slump and entered the game with a.174 batting average.

“Cole has worked hard to improve,” said Ole Brook head coachRandy Spring. “He got a good pitch to hit.”

Hartzog, a Copiah-Lincoln Community College signee, appeared totire in the sixth inning. He finished with 8 strikeouts. He walked5 and hit 2 batters, allowing 10 hits.

Junior southpaw Paxton King started on the mound for BHS andwent 5 innings. He gave up 7 hits as the Cougars scored 5 unearnedruns. He walked 3 and fanned 8.

“Paxton deserves a lot of credit,” said Spring. “When thingswere going bad for us, he didn’t let the game get out of hand.

‘I’m proud of our kids for not folding,” Spring added. “The year(2004) we won state, we didn’t’ have real good defense but we keptbattling and got it done.”

Spring’s Panthers have hit 10 homers in 9 games thus far. In thefourth, Josh Coone launched a long blast over the left field fence,reducing the LCHS lead to 3-2.

In the seventh, Taylor Newman started the BHS rally with asingle past second base. Bud Britt singled to deep short, settingthe stage for Newell’s game-winning clout.

The Cougars were stunned by the loss. LCHS coach Cory Keyes saidthe game had a state playoff atmosphere.

“It was a great baseball atmosphere,” said Keyes. “Brookhavenhas a great ballclub. We just didn’t come out on top.

“Over the last two years we have won a lot of games thatway.”

Keyes watched the last 4 batters in his lineup go hitless in 15at-bats. His team did turn 2 big rally-killing double plays.

In the fourth, Hartzog lashed a line drive double to the base ofthe left-center field fence. Keyes called for a double-steal andcourtesy runner Dominique West streaked home with the sixth run,scoring on a throwing error, giving his team a 5-2 advantage.

The Cougars took a 6-3 lead in the sixth. Joseph Evans andZachary Summers both hit high popups that landed safely betweenfielders for hits. Evans stole third base and later scored.