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Wildcats edge Lawrence Co.

MONTICELLO-The Columbia Wildcats defeated the Lawrence County Cougars 9-8 in Division 7-4A high school baseball action Wednesday evening at Jimmie Davis Park. The highly-ranked Wildcats banged out 15 hits to grab a 9-3 lead, then held off an error-fueled Lawrence County error in the bottom of the seventh.

With the win, Greg Owen’s Columbia team remained in control of the Division 7-4A race, improving to 7-0 in league play. Lawrence County, coached by Cory Keyes, fell to 11-9 overall and 2-5 in the division.

“Our guys played a great ballgame,” Keyes said. “We really didn’t do anything wrong to fall behind 9-3. To fight back and have a chance against a great team like Columbia is a credit to the character of our guys.”

The crowd was littered with professional scouts as 4 of Columbia’s first 5 batters banged out hits as the Wildcats put up 3 first-inning runs. The big blow was a 2-run homer by center fielder Bryson Medious.

Lawrence County got 2 back in the bottom of the inning. Starting pitcher Joshua Stephens delivered a 2-out, 2-run double. The Cougars tied it in the bottom of the second. Logan Greenlee reached via a hit batsman, and courtesy runner Duke Tanksley scored on a Marcus Atterberry groundout.

It remained 3-3 until the top of the fifth, when Columbia banged out 5 runs on 5 hits. Again, Medious had the big blow, a 2-out, 2-run double. Columbia put up 2 more runs in the seventh, on 3 base hits. Lawrence County’s Kody Smith relieved Stephens in the inning.

Down 9-3 entering the bottom of the seventh, Lawrence County made a game of it. Three Cougars hits, 2 walks, a hit batsman and 2 Columbia errors helped LCHS get the potential tying run to third base at game’s end. Standout Columbia shortstop Ti-Quan Forbes came to the mound and got the final 2 outs.

Forbes and Medious led Columbia with 3 hits each. Tomas Conerly, Donte Peters and Jonathan Sanford had 2 hits each. Zach Boone relieved Wildcat starter Logan McDowell in the third, and earned the win.

Stephens, the starting pitcher, led Lawrence County at the plate with 2 doubles. Atterberry, Greenlee, Gabriel Lewis and Will Jackson also had hits.

“Josh gave us a great game,” said long-time LCHS assistant Craig Davis. “He got hit some, but Columbia is going to get its hits against anybody. Josh pitched to 31 batters without a walk or hit batsman. He made them earn it, and I thought we defended well, too.”

The home-and-home series concludes at Columbia’s John Sapen Field on Friday night.