Votaw’s 2-out single lifts LCHS over Franklin Co.

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, March 25, 2008

MONTICELLO — The Lawrence County Cougars defeated the FranklinCounty Bulldogs 6-5 in high school baseball action Saturdayafternoon at Jimmie Davis Park. Franklin County battled back from a5-0 deficit, tying the game in the top of the seventh.

In the bottom half, however, Lawrence County’s Scott Votawdelivered Willie Buckley with a 2-out, game-winning single.

With the win, Coach Cory Keyes’ Cougars improved to 12-5 on theseason. Franklin County, coached by Jeremy Loy, fell to 11-2. Bothteams are very much in the thick of their respective divisionraces.

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“We didn’t play a good game,” Coach Keyes said, “but we wereable to claw out a win against a very good team. I’m not sure wedeserved it, but we’ll take it.”

Through 4 innings, Franklin County trailed 5-0, having managedjust 1 infield single against Lawrence County starter Nathan Case.In the fifth, however, Matt Lofton’s chopping 2-run double spurreda Bulldog comeback. Franklin County would have added more, but foran excellent, inning-ending catch by LCHS right-fielder TylerReeves.

In the sixth, Franklin County took advantage of 2 Cougar errorsand added another run, cutting the Bulldog deficit to 5-3. TheBulldogs left the bases loaded, as Lawrence County shortstop Votawmade a diving catch of Ryne Tutor’s blooper in short left field, ablooper that would have otherwise tied the game.

In the seventh, Bulldog center-fielder Jordan Hunt led off witha solo homer. Votaw then relieved Case. Ben McDowell greeted Votawwith a single, and eventually scored the game-tying run on JustinD’Avy’s groundout.

Franklin County had a great opportunity to take the lead, butVotaw managed to strike out the final 2 Bulldog batters, again withthe bases loaded. Franklin County left 12 runners on base in thegame.

Bulldog starter Colton Laird kept the Cougars off balance allday, with a steady diet of breaking pitches. He retired the first 2LCHS hitters in the bottom of the seventh. Cougar third basemanWillie Buckley then singled and stole second. He narrowly beatHunt’s throw home when Votaw singled to center.

“Scott had a pretty tough day,” said long-time LCHS assistantCraig Davis, “but he was able to flush it, and come through when hehad to. It looked like we were done for, but he struck out 2 toughhitters with the bases loaded, and then got his big hit.”

Lawrence County got its first 2 runs in the second, as TylerReeves, Conner Oakes, and Nathan Case put together singles, andWesley Wilson had an RBI groundout. In the fourth, the Cougarstallied 3 more as Wilson had a sacrifice fly, and catcher DillonLee came through with a big 2-out, 2-run single. All of that setthe stage for the late-inning drama.

“If this game proved anything,” Davis said, “it proves that lifeisn’t always fair. Franklin County played a very solid, decent,fundamentally sound game, and lost, while we screwed up everythingwe could possibly find to screw up, and won.

“To our guys’ credit, though, we did make two greatinning-ending catches that saved us a bunch of runs.”

In 6-plus innings, Case gave up 6 hits, walked 3, hit 1 batter,and struck out 4. Votaw gave up 1 hit, walked 2 (1 intentionally),and struck out 2. Oakes had 2 singles for the Cougars. BrandonMiddlebrook also had a hit.

Laird gave it a great fight. He gave up 8 hits, and struck out4. Lofton, Hunt, Laird, Blaine Abernathy, Preston Shelton, BenMcDowell, and Dehendret Collins all had hits for the Bulldogs.

In junior varsity play, Franklin County won,4-3, behind the strong pitching effort of Preston Shelton.