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LCHS tops Central Private, bows to UMS-Wright

FLOWOOD/PEARL -The Lawrence County Cougars earned their first win of the baseball season Friday night, beating Central Private of Baker, La. 5-4, in a game played at Pearl High School. Earlier in the day, at Northwest Rankin, LCHS took a 12 -2 beating at the hands of UMS-Wright Prep of Mobile. The games were part of the Mid-Mississippi Classic, which pitted Mississippi high school teams against out-of-state competition.

With the win over Central Private, Lawrence County improved to 1-3 on the young season, heading into Tuesday’s Region 7-4A opener with North Pike.

“We needed something positive to happen,” said ninth-year LCHS coach Cory Keyes. “We had kind of been a punching bag for three games, so it was good for our guys to finally get to experience a little success, against a quality opponent.”

LCHS 5, CP 4

In the win over Central Private, Rusty Rowells had a 2-run single in the third, and T-Tez Cole had a 2-run single in the bottom of the fifth. Cole’s hit came after a Matt Patterson double, and provided the winning margin.

Lawrence County had grabbed a 3-1 lead through 3 innings, but Central rallied for 3 in the top of the fourth, the last one scoring on a dropped fly ball. Hunter Stephens pitched 3 very effective innings for the Cougars, but LCHS pitching coach Josh Garrett had Stephens on a strict pitch count. Will Jackson relieved Stephens and, after the difficult fourth, shut the Rebels out over the last 3 innings, in rather extreme conditions. Jackson retired 10 of the last 12 Central Private batters.

“After that tough fourth inning,” said long-time LCHS assistant Craig Davis, “for Will to come back and put up three goose eggs, in those conditions, was really remarkable. It was a tough night to play baseball, especially to pitch.”

Patterson led the Cougars with 2 hits. Stephens, Cole and Rowells each had 1. Central Private hurlers Chase Martin and Brad Miller combined to strike out 9 Lawrence County batters.

UMS 12, LCHS 2

Earlier in the day, the Cougars played UMS-Wright close for 5 innings, only to see Wright explode for 10 runs in the top of the sixth. The game was halted after 6 innings, via the 10-run rule. UMS-Wright is the reigning Alabama 4A champion.

“You never want to get 10-runned,” said Keyes. “I hated for that to happen, but their bats just exploded in the sixth. Through five innings, I thought we had played pretty well.”

Through 5 innings, Lawrence County had had more base runners than UMS-Wright, but repeatedly failed to come through with hits in clutch situations. LCHS left the bases loaded in the third and fourth, and left 2 runners on in both the fourth and fifth.

Left-hander Jordan McCaffrey started and threw 5 effective innings, only to see things go astray in the sixth. Matt Patterson and Brennan Lang finished out the sixth. McCaffrey had 2 hits to lead the Cougars. Stephens, Patterson, Rowells, and Patrick Little also had hits.

First baseman Dylan Goff had a huge day for UMS-Wright, going 3-for-4, with a double and home run, and driving in 4 runs.