• 70°

Trojans edge Lawrence County

MAGEE-The Magee Trojans defeated the Lawrence County Cougars 6-5 Thursday night, in the first game of a best-of-three 4A playoff series. Magee pitchers Nick Bullock and Devonta Calero pitched out of one jam after another, stranding 14 LCHS baserunners. Bullock and Calero combined to strike out 10.

With the victory, Allen Eubanks’ Trojans improved to 19-5 on the season. Lawrence County, under first-year coach Josh Garrett, fell to 13-11. The same two teams will face off in game two on Friday evening, at Jimmie Davis Park. Game three, if necessary, will be back at Magee on Saturday.

“We had our chances,” said Garrett. “We had runners all over the bases all night long and couldn’t get the big two-out hit. That said, I couldn’t be more pleased with the effort our guys gave. They played their hearts out.”

Magee jumped ahead early, touching Lawrence County starter Kody Smith for three runs on four hits in the first two innings. Magee starter Nick Bullock was the biggest thorn in the Cougars’ side, going four-for-four, with all four hits driving in runs.

While Magee was tallying runs, the Cougars were stranding runners. LCHS left the bases loaded in the first, left runners on first and third in the second and a runner on third base in the third.

Lawrence County broke through to score two-runs in the fourth-one of them on Marcus Atterberry’s long solo homer, but the Cougars again left the bases loaded.

Leading 3-2, Magee scored one in the bottom of the fourth to make it a 4-2 game. It stayed that way until the bottom of the sixth, when the Trojans pushed across two insurance runs against Smith.

Smith, the Cougars’ senior ace, gave it a Herculean effort. He limited the heavy-hitting Trojans to eight hits and struck out six.

“Kody battled his heart out,” said long-time LCHS assistant Craig Davis. “His time with us is winding down, but his career ranks him up there among the best we’ve ever had.”

As it turned out, Magee needed those insurance runs. Lawrence County battled back in the seventh, scoring three-runs after two were out. A walk, two Magee errors and a Gabriel Lewis infield single set the stage for LCHS slugger T-Tez Cole.

Cole, playing in just his third game of the season because of injury, had already singled and doubled in the game. With the potential tying and lead runs on base, Cole flied out to center field to end the game.

Cole, Atterberry, Josh Stephens and Brandon Bullock each had two hits for Lawrence County. Smith and Lewis each had one.

Nick Bullock’s big night paced Magee. J.D. Hayes had two hits. Bullock was the winning pitcher, with Calero earning the save.

“Obviously, winning game one is a big key to a best-of-three,” said assistant Davis, “but, on a positive note, we were able to get pretty deep into their top two pitchers. If we can get the series to a game three, that should help us some.”