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Loyd Star’s Hornets feel good in playoffs

“Glad All Over.”

Like the popular Beatles song of the mid 1960s, pitcher DrewWeaver and his Loyd Star teammates departed Smith Field with aglad, confident feeling after eliminating the Forest Bearcats 10-2Friday in the second round of the Class 2A state playoffs.

Loyd Star (20-8), playing its best baseball in the playoffs,advances to the third round and meets the Taylorsville Tarters, aseries winner over defending state champion Richton; this week inanother best-of-three classic. It’s expected to begin Friday atTaylorsville and return to Loyd Star Saturday.

Weaver (9-2), a Copiah-Lincoln Community College signee,dominated the Bearcats (21-6), tossing a 2-hitter that included 7strikeouts. He also walked 3 batters and hit 3.

Weaver and Forest starter Tyler Cox were locked in a pitchingduel until the third inning. That’s when the Hornets exploded for 7runs and erased a 2-1 deficit.

“When we started scoring runs, I felt like we could go to thethird round,” said Weaver. “It’s a very good feeling.”

Weaver said he also felt confident on the mound. “I felt relaxedand my arm was feeling good. My curveball was nasty.”

Forest coach Hamer Morgan complimented Weaver’s performance.”Weaver threw a ton of strikes. We have been a pretty good hittingteam but he had a lot of movement on the ball and kept us offbalance.”

The Bearcats, who won 2 straight division championships, hadlost 9-4 to Loyd Star Thursday night at Forest. They took a 2-1lead in the top of the third as Nathan Reynolds slapped a 2-out,2-RBI single over second base.

Weaver had scored his team’s first run in the second. He was hitby a pitch, went to third on a double to the left field fence byKorey Allen and scored on a wild pitch.

In the bottom of the third, Loyd Star would send 11 batters tothe plate. A 2-RBI single by 10th batter Marquis Hayes plated LoydStar’s seventh and eighth runs.

Hayes had led off the inning with a walk. Leebo Bairfieldsingled over first base and Bubba Keene was hit on the helmet by apitch from Tyler Cox, loading the bases. T.J. Floyd singled toright field to drive in 1 run and deadlock the scoreboard at2-2.

The uprising continued as Cody Smith smashed a 2-RBI single toright-center, making it 4-2. Floyd scored on a passed ball andKorey Allen singled to left to load the bases. Tyler Case’sgrounder scored the sixth run.

“We got another great pitching performance from Drew,” said LoydStar coach Jonathan Breakfield. “Pitching has carried us all year.We are finally starting to hit the ball, too. We have to have hitsin the playoffs.”

Loyd Star plated its 9th run after Weaver led off the fifth witha double over the rightfielder’s head. A throwing error allowed the9th run to race home.

In the sixth, Weaver added an RBI single to left, making it10-2.

Cox (5-2), an East Central Community College signee, usuallystarts at catcher for the Bearcats. He gave up 8 runs and 6 hits,walking 2 and fanning 1.

Matt Evans (2 K, 1 BB) replaced Cox on the mound in the thirdand finished the game. He gave up 2 runs and 2 hits.