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BHS, Lawrence Co. absorb setbacks in baseball jamboree

MONTICELLO-Lawrence County hosted Brookhaven, Petal, and Clintonin a Saturday afternoon baseball jamboree at Jimmie Davis Park.Each team played two four-inning scrimmages in preparation for nextSaturday’s season openers.

In what Lawrence County coach Cory Keyes described as a”glorified practice,” the two 5A powerhouses handled both localDivision 6-4A members. The host Cougars lost to Petal by a score of7-0, and then fell to Clinton by an 11-5 count.

Coach Randy Spring’s Brookhaven Panthers fared similarly, losing10-3 to Petal and 6-0 to Clinton.

“It was a good experience,” Spring said. “It was good to getsome game experience against two very good teams. Hopefully, it’llserve to better prepare us for the real thing next week.”

Keyes concurred, saying that his Cougars “didn’t playparticularly well today, but it gave us a chance to see where westand right now, and areas where we must improve if we are to havea good season.”

Last season, Brookhaven and Lawrence County rolled through theDivision 6-4A schedule, both finishing with division records of16-2. Ole Brook beat LCHS two games to one in head-to-headcompetition, and claimed the division title.

On Saturday, however, both teams had their hands full with Petaland Clinton, both of whom are expected to contend for honors intheir respective 5A divisions.

“We were matched up with two salty teams,” Keyes said.”Obviously, I’d love for the day to have gone better for us, but wewon’t dwell on today’s results. We’ve got to get ready for theseason, and for the division.”

PETAL 7, LAWRENCE COUNTY 0

In the first scrimmage of the day, Petal left-handers BuckBernard and Taylor Byrd limited the Cougars to just 1 hit, a FordJohnson leadoff single. They combined to strike out 5.

Petal took advantage of multiple Lawrence County miscues and 5bases on balls to pull away from the Cougars. Walker Eaton’s 2-rundouble and Taylor Guyse’s 3-run homer were the Panthers’ biggestblows.

Scott Votaw, Willie Buckley, and Dylan Lea pitched for LCHS.

PETAL 10, BROOKHAVEN 3

Petal followed its domination of Lawrence County with anoffensive onslaught against Ole Brook. After Nick Helmstetter’sfirst-inning homer staked BHS to a 3-0 lead, Petal took advantageof strong out-blowing winds and whacked 6 home runs in a 2-inningstretch.

Helmstetter and Elliot McKee had Brookhaven’s only hits. ChaseToussaint, Taylor Byrd, Lane Craft, Andy Pierce, Drew Carruth, andEthan McLeod all hit homers for Petal.

Petal’s Carruth and Matthew Magee limited Brookhaven to 2 hits,while striking out 3.

CLINTON 11, LAWRENCE COUNTY 5

Clinton made its debut in the third scrimmage of the day, andthe Arrows opened with a flurry, banging out a whopping 15 hits injust 4 innings. The Cougars just couldn’t keep up.

Shortstop Patrick Barnes, left-fielder Adam Thigpen, and pitcherAlex Gunn each had 3 hits for Clinton, with Barnes and Thigpen eachblasting homeruns.

Scott Votaw had 2 hits for Lawrence County, and Willie Buckleyhit a homer. Dylan Lea, Conner Oakes, and Tyler Reeves also hadbase hits.

CLINTON 6, BROOKHAVEN 0

Clinton got a strong pitching performance from Andrew Gunn andPatrick Barnes. Pitchers were allowed to throw just 2 innings eachand they shut out Brookhaven in the final game of the day. That duostruck out 6, while allowing hits to only Helmstetter and GabeWilson. Patrick Ferguson led off the game with a home run for theArrows.

The season begins in earnest Saturday, for both the Panthers andCougars, and for virtually every other public school baseball teamin the state. Ole Brook will travel to McComb to play North Pikeand Tylertown. Lawrence County will host Franklin County andNorthwest Rankin.