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Culver has career night in win over Lawrence Co.

Senior southpaw Andrew Culver had a memorable Saturday night. He had 3 hits, including a triple and a grand slam home run. He also pitched 4 and 2/3 strong innings, to power the Ole Brook Panthers in an 8-3 win over Lawrence County’s Cougars.

Culver’s grand slam staked the Panthers to a 4-0 first-inning lead, and they never trailed.

With the win, Randy Spring’s Panthers improved to 12-13 on the season. Lawrence County, coached by Cory Keyes, fell to 12-11. With one week remaining in the regular season, Brookhaven is assured of a spot in the 5A playoffs as a No. 2 seed. Lawrence County has been eliminated from 4A contention.

Culver’s grand slam came after Landon McCullough reached on an error, Reed Jones singled, and Zach Smith walked. The Panthers stretched their lead to 6-0 in the third, as Culver, Smith, and Peyton Clark all had singles.

Lawrence County cut its deficit to 6-3 with a 3-run fifth inning. Will Jackson and Kody Smith both had RBI singles. That duo accounted for all of the Cougars’ hits, with Jackson collecting 3 singles and Smith the other one.

Culver’s leadoff triple led to an Ole Brook run in the bottom of the fifth. In the sixth, the Panthers’ final tally came via singles by McCullough and Houston Case.

On the mound, Culver struck out 6 and scattered 4 hits in 4 and 2/3 innings. Clark relieved Culver during the fifth-inning Cougar rally. Clark threw 2 and 1/3 innings of hitless relief.

Both pitchers were buoyed by the Panthers’ fine defensive performance. McCullough, at shortstop, and Myles Tipton playing center field, had defensive gems for Ole Brook.

Hunter Stephens, John Hedgepeth, and Kody Smith all threw for Lawrence County.