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North Pike knocks off Lawrence County

MONTICELLO-North Pike erupted for eight runs in the bottom of the second and then held on to claim an 8-6 win over Lawrence County in Division 7-4A high school baseball action Friday night at Jimmie Davis Park. Though the game was played at LCHS, North Pike was the home team. Jaguar Coach George Lott agreed to play what was, in essence, a road game as recent rains left the North Pike field unplayable.

With the win, Lott’s Jaguars improved to 14-3 overall, and North Pike finished at 9-1 in Division 7-4A play. North Pike will finish either first or second in the division – the outcome to be determined by a Purvis-Columbia game that has yet to be played. Lawrence County, under first-year coach Josh Garrett, fell to 13-8 overall – and finished at 4-6 in the division. Both North Pike and Lawrence County will open 4A playoff action this Thursday night.

On Friday, Lawrence County grabbed a 1-0 lead on Kasey Durr’s RBI single in the top of the first. In the bottom of the second, however, the wheels came off on the Cougars. North Pike scored eight runs in the frame, taking advantage of six base hits and three Lawrence County errors.

Jaguar pitcher Cade Killingsworth got two hits in the inning. Jacob Gill, Ben Coney, Blake Dunaway and Levi Wishart also hit safely.

Killingsworth was the first of four North Pike pitchers. He worked three laborious innings, allowing three runs on two hits. Four consecutive bases on balls in the top of the third helped Lawrence County to score two runs, cutting North Pike’s lead to 8-3.

Conner Travis relieved Killingsworth in the fourth and allowed an RBI single to Cougar first baseman Josh Stephens, and a long two-run homer to Kody Smith. Suddenly, it was 8-6.

Left-hander Darren Smith relieved Travis with two out in the fourth. He got the final out of that inning, then breezed through the fifth and sixth. When Smith allowed consecutive singles to Smith and T-Tez Cole to start the seventh, Lott called on shortstop Ben Coney. After some anxious moments, Coney got LCHS right-fielder Marcus Atterberry to bounce into a bases-loaded game-ending force out. Coney was credited with a save.

Killingsworth led the Jags with two hits. Gill, Coney, Wishart, Dunaway and Brantley Hughes each had one.

Lawrence County got two hits each from Smith and Josh Stephens. Durr, Cole, and catcher Logan Greenlee also hit safely. The game marked the first action of the year for Cole, one of the area’s top returning players. He went one-for-three at the plate, and made a spectacular diving catch on a foul ball deep in the left field corner.

Southpaw Brennan Lang started for Lawrence County but was chased from the game in the marathon second inning. Smith relieved at that point and was effective the rest of the way. Smith did not allow a hit over the final four innings, striking out three.

“We had the inning from Hades,” LCHS Assistant Craig Davis said about the bottom of the second. “They got a lot of hits, and we booted every thing we possibly could. That said, we were proud of the way our guys kept in the fight and almost battled all the way back. This had all the makings of a 10-run rule game.

“Congratulations are in order for North Pike. To go 9-1 through our division is a great, fine accomplishment.”

Lawrence County traveled to Wesson on Saturday. The Cougars led 6-2 after three innings at which point the game was rained out. There are no plans to finish or make-up that contest.