LCHS secures division title

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 13, 2009

JACKSON – The Lawrence County Cougars clinched the Division 6-4Abaseball championship Friday, beating the Forest Hill Patriots intwo lop-sided games at Forest Hill Park. Lawrence County won thefirst game, 20-2, in 3 innings. The second game lasted 4 innings,but the result was much the same, with LCHS claiming a 19-0win.

With the wins, Lawrence County improved to 19-6 overall, andwrapped up Division 6-4A play with a record of 16-2. Forest Hillended the season with a 10-13 mark. The Patriots needed one winagainst the Cougars to clinch a 4A playoff berth of their own.

The Class 4A state playoffs being Friday and LCHS will travelfor the first game, before returning home Saturday to Jimmie DavisPark.

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“The way the games went today,” said fifth-year Cougar coachCory Keyes, “winning the division was sort of anti-climactic. We’revery proud of that, though. That’s our number one goal everyseason, and it’s a great accomplishment for our kids.”

Lawrence County needed just one win on Friday, to clinch thedivision, and that win came very easily. The Cougars roughed upPatriot ace Edmund Cheatham for 4 runs on 5 hits in the firstinning. Ford Johnson had a leadoff double, and Willie Buckley,Conner Oakes, Wesley Wilson, and Tyler Reeves added singles.

In the second inning, Cheatham got nailed on the shin by a ScottVotaw line drive, and had to come out of the game. Cheatham wouldreturn to play shortstop in the second game, but not having him onthe mound opened the flood gates for Lawrence County. LCHS wouldscore 9 runs on 7 hits in that frame.

The Cougars’ scoring frenzy continued in the third, as theyscored 7 runs on 5 hits.

Johnson, Buckley, and Oakes had 3 hits each to lead LawrenceCounty. Tyler Reeves and Dillon Lee each got 2. Votaw, Wilson, andLane Stephens also had hits.

Oakes drove in 5 runs with a triple, a double, and a single.

Oakes also pitched, and ran his record to 7-1 on the season. In3 solid innings, he allowed 4 hits, and did not walk or strike outa Forest Hill hitter.

Lawrence 19, Forest Hill 0

No celebration followed the Cougars clinching their firstdivision title since 2006. In fact, the Lawrence County team barelyeven acknowledged that accomplishment. They went right to work ongame two of the double header.

“We’re proud of the championship,” Keyes said, “but it wasn’ttime for a celebration. We want to go out and play hard every game,and we still had a game to play. We talked about winning thedivision after the second game.”

The second game looked an awful lot like the first. LawrenceCounty scored 6 runs on 4 hits in the first inning. After beinglimited to just 1 run in the second, the Cougars piled on 6 moreruns in each of the third and fourth innings.

Votaw led the Cougars with a triple and 2 doubles. Wesley Wilsonadded 2 hits. Adam Watson hit a fourth-inning homerun. Johnson,Buckley, Oakes, Reeves, Stephens, Dillon Quinn, Austin Davis, JacobWilliams, and Keith Martin also had hits.

Willie Buckley pitched 4 shutout innings to get the win. Heallowed 2 hits and struck out 4. More importantly, Buckley, who hasstruggled with control problems throughout the season, did not walka single Forest Hill batter.