LC Cougars edge West Marion

Published 12:30 am Sunday, March 2, 2014

MONTICELLO-Kody Smith hit 2 homeruns and drove in 5 runs as the Lawrence County Cougars defeated the West Marion Trojans 7-5 in opening-night high school baseball action Friday at Jimmie Davis Park. In an earlier game, West Marion defeated North Pike by an identical 7-5 score.

Smith not only powered the Cougars at the plate, he also worked 5 and 1/3 gutsy innings on the mound. When Smith ran into trouble in the sixth inning, sophomore left-hander Joshua Stephens entered in relief and ultimately earned the win.

“This was a good win for our guys,” said tenth-year Lawrence County coach Cory Keyes, who picked up his 200th career coaching victory. “We took some pretty big lumps in the jamboree last week. It was great to put that behind us. West Marion has a good team.”

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The Trojans put together 3 first-inning singles to grab a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the inning, however, Smith whacked the first of his homeruns, a 2-run shot that barely stayed inside of the left field foul pole. In the bottom of the third, Smith’s mammoth 3-run shot gave the Cougars a 5-1 lead.

Breezing along until the top of the sixth, Smith ran into big-time trouble in that frame. Stephens relieved Smith with one out in the frame. West Marion took advantage of 2 Smith bases on balls, and 4 singles, to tally 4 runs and tie the game.

In the bottom of the sixth, it was Stephens’ 2-run single that helped to earn him the win. In the top of the seventh, Stephens recorded the final 2 outs with the potential tying runs on the bases. Stephens and Smith overcame multiple defensive lapses to gut out the victory.

“We screwed up just about everything we could defensively,” said long-time LCHS assistant coach Craig Davis, “but we’re going to have some nights like that. This is absolutely the greenest team we’ve ever put on the field. But our guys fought and fought and fought, and never thought they were going to lose the game.”

“Obviously, Kody was seeing that ball well tonight, and our catcher (Logan Greenlee) had a good night, both offensively and defensively. Josh came through in the clutch, both on the mound and in that last at-bat.”

Jaran Hollis led West Marion with 3 hits. Jacob Allen and Cord Blocker each had 2. Jesse Pittman pitched 5 effective innings for the Trojans.

Smith’s 2 homers and catcher Logan Greenlee’s 2 doubles powered the Cougars offensively. Lawrence County also got hits from Stephens, Noah McLaurin and Marcus Atterberry.