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Cougars beat Magee to force game three

MONTICELLO-The Lawrence County Cougars defeated Magee 12-3 Friday night, evening the best-of-three series at one game apiece, and forcing a deciding third game on Saturday (see related article on Page 3C). Down 3-1 entering the bottom of the fifth and facing the end of their season, the Cougars erupted for 11 runs in their final two at-bats to keep their season alive.

With the win, Josh Garrett’s Cougars improved to 14-11 on the season. Magee, coached by Allen Eubanks, fell to 19-6. The series winner will face off against either Poplarville or Forrest County AHS in the second round of the 4A playoffs.

“We got a great win,” said Garrett. “Things didn’t go our way early on, but we were able to stay in the game, and our bats finally came alive. We pitched well and played well defensively to give ourselves that chance.”

Through four and a half innings, the Trojans had out-hit the Cougars by a whopping 10-1 margin. However, LCHS hurlers Josh Stephens and Brennan Lang managed to strand nine Magee baserunners, while giving the Trojans just three runs. That kept Lawrence County within striking distance, and the Cougars took advantage.

Brandon Bullock started the bottom of the fifth with a booming double to leftfield. After that, Kasey Durr, Kody Smith, Josh Stephens and Marcus Atterberry all had RBI singles, and Logan Greenlee drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.

The wheels came off on Magee in the bottom of the sixth, as Lawrence County added six more runs on just one hit. Atterberry had a two-run single in that frame, and T-Tez Cole had a sacrifice fly, which was dropped. Cole also doubled and scored Lawrence County’s first run in the fourth inning.

“When you’ve out-hit the other team 10-1,” said long-time LCHS assistant Craig Davis, “and you’ve only scored three runs, that’s bad karma. You almost feel like you’re destined to lose. I’ve been on the other side of that many times, and it’s a bad feeling. I’m glad our guys were able to take advantage.”

Stephens, the Cougars’ junior lefty, gave it a great fight. He got hit some, literally, when he pitched on after taking a vicious line-drive off the foot – but his ability to pitch out of jams kept the game close. Another junior southpaw, Brennan Lang, relieved Stephens with one out in the fifth. He pitched out of a major jam in that inning. In all, Lang retired seven of the eight batters he faced. The lone base runner he allowed, Lang picked off.

Left fielder J.D. Hayes had a huge game for Magee. He had a single, a double and a two-run homer, driving in all three of the Trojans’ runs. Jonathan Adcox and Devonta Calero each had two hits for Magee.

Magee starter Demetrius Gray handled Lawrence County for four innings, only to see things come unraveled in the fifth. Through four innings, he limited the Cougars to one hit and struck out four. Jonathan Adcox relieved Gray in the fifth.

The victory marked Lawrence County’s first playoff win in four years.