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Lawrence Co. pounds McComb

McCOMB-The Lawrence County Cougars edged the McComb Tigers 2-1in a dandy duel between freshman pitchers Tuesday night. LawrenceCounty’s Scott Votaw threw a masterful 4-hitter, striking out 12,to run his record to 7-1 on the season. Fellow freshman HunterMcCullough, of McComb, was almost as tough. He limited the Cougarsto 6 hits and struck out 8.

With the win, Cory Keyes’ Cougars improved to 15-5 overall, and11-2 in Division 6-4A play. McComb, coached by Brady Jones, fell to8-14 overall, and 5-8 in the division. Tuesday’s game was theopener of a 3-game series between the 2 teams. They will play avarsity double-header in Monticello on Friday night.

“It was a good, tough win,” Keyes said. “Scott pitched a verygood game, and we defended very well. Their young pitcher wasoutstanding, too.”

McComb took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. KennyArtigues drew a rare walk from Votaw, moved to third the first ofBen Slayton’s 2 doubles, and scored on a Dontrell Sargentgroundout.

Slayton was Votaw’s lone complication on this night. The Tigercatcher got 3 of his team’s 4 hits. Pitcher McCullough’s swingingbunt single in the seventh was McComb’s only other hit.

Lawrence County’s only scoring rally came in the top of thefourth. Willie Buckley and Conner Oakes had singles in the inning,and a key Tiger error made for 2 unearned runs. Ford Johnson,Nathan Case, Wesley Wilson, and Votaw also had hits for theCougars.

The key moment of the game came in the bottom of the fourth.Slayton led off with a double, and Keyes elected to intentionallywalk Sargent-the potential lead run-with none out. Votaw made thestrategy pay off by striking out the next 3 Tiger batters.

“That was a tough call, and obviously an unconventional one,”said long-time LCHS assistant Craig Davis. “We’d have been idiotsif Dontrell had come around to score, especially if it had been thewinning run. Fortunately, it worked out the way we hoped itwould.”

Cougar catcher Dillon Lee also did his part in preservingLawrence County’s 1-run win. He threw out attempted base stealersto end both the sixth and seventh innings

“Dill had a tough night at the plate,” Keyes said, “but heknocked off 2 potential tying runners, one of them to end the game.That was big.”