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E. Central offense buries LCHS

MONTICELLO — The East Central Hornets defeated the LawrenceCounty Cougars 15-3 Friday night at Jimmie Davis Park, eliminatingthe homestanding Cougars from the state 4A baseball playoffs.

East Central banged out a whopping 17 hits and ended the game,via the 10-run rule, after 6 innings. It was the first time in the131-game tenure of LCHS coach Cory Keyes in which the Cougars havesuffered that fate.

“We just couldn’t get them out,” Keyes said. “I don’t remember atime when we got hit that hard. You’ve just got to give credit toEast Central. They just took it to us tonight.”

Coach Gary Long’s East Central team improved to 21-7 on theseason, and advances to the third round of the playoffs. TheHornets defeated the Cougars, 4-3, in 9 innings, at Hurley onSaturday. Lawrence County finished the season at 23-8.

“We’re awfully proud of the season we had,” Keyes said. “Whathappened tonight takes nothing away from the season our kids haveput together. We had a great time and look forward to doing itagain in a few months.”

East Central’s Trey Porter had a very productive night. Alongwith pitching 6 strong innings to earn the win, Porter went3-for-5, with 3 doubles, and 3 runs batted in.

Seven of East Central’s 9 starters got into the multiple hitcolumn as centerfielder Caleb Dickerson, shortstop Andrew Evans,first baseman Phillip Byrd, right fielder Taylor Bonafacio,designated hitter Shane Pearson, and second baseman Jarrod Howelleach got 2.

Third baseman Matt Linton was outstanding defensively for theHornets. He also pitched the final frame in perfect fashion, andhad a 2-run double. Leftfielder Justin Parker added a single.

East Central took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, butLawrence County responded with Willie Buckley’s 2-run homer whichgave the Cougars a brief 2-1 lead. The Hornets exploded for 7 runsin the top of the second and LCHS never got back in the game afterthat.

Buckley and Scott Votaw each had 2 hits for Lawrence County.Tyler Reeves, Ford Johnson, and Conner Oakes also hit safely.

It was the final game for LCHS seniors Nathan Case, HunterGriffith and Brandon Middlebrook.

“Those guys did a great job for us,” Keyes said, “and we salutethem. They provided great leadership and quality play. They were apart of 102 varsity wins in their 4 yeas of high school baseball.That’ll be hard to top.”