Lawrence Co., North Pike open with wins

Published 12:25 am Sunday, February 28, 2016

MONTICELLO – Lawrence County and North Pike were the big winners on day one of the Lawrence County opening day baseball classic at Jimmie Davis Park. The season started with North Pike beating the Ole Brook Panthers 17-7 in a marathon that lasted more than three hours. In the late game, the host Cougars beat West Marion 8-2 as senior southpaw Josh Stephens struck out 11 in six innings of work.

The North Pike-Ole Brook game was a bit of a sloppy affair, with the two teams combining for 11 errors. The rebuilding Panthers made a game of it for a while, but the powerhouse Jaguars eventually pulled away, winning the game via the 10-run rule in six innings.

North Pike’s Ben Coney started and worked three and 2/3 innings to earn the win. He also had two hits for the Jags. Brandon Roberts, Matthew Phillips and Jonah Bankston also had two hits each. George Lott’s Jaguars piled up runs throughout the game, scoring at least two runs in each inning.

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Brookhaven got two hits from Clint Stephens. Blaine Moak and Tate Walley each had doubles. Jon Mark Mathis and Tyler Mixon also had hits. Panther coach Randy Spring employed four pitchers in the game. Tate Walley started and was saddled with the loss.

The Lawrence County-West Marion game was a dandy, with Lawrence County’s Stephens locked up with West Marion flame-thrower Colby White. West Marion put up two unearned runs in the top of the third, and with White throwing in the high 80s, it looked as though those two runs might stand up. Through three innings, White shut the Cougars out on one hit.

In the bottom of the fourth, Stephens reached on an error to start things off. Marcus Atterberry drew a walk, and he and courtesy runner Seth Bass stole their way to second and third. Lawrence County left fielder Marcus Kees then came through with the Cougars’ first big hit of the season, a two-run single to center, which knotted the game at 2-2. Kees then stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored the lead run on a steal of home.

White left the mound after four innings, striking out nine. In the fifth, Lawrence County put up four against the Trojan bullpen. T-Tez Cole hit a three-run homer to break open the game.

That was more than enough for Stephens, who was outstanding. He gave up just two hits, both to Colby White. Brandon Bullock came in and pitched the final inning for the Cougars. He struck out all three batters he faced, giving the Lawrence County pitchers a total of 14 for the game.

Kasey Durr had two hits, including a double, to lead LCHS. Bullock, Cole, Stephens, and Kees each had one.

A full day of action was also slated for Saturday, with North Pike playing West Marion, and Lawrence County taking on Brookhaven both junior varsity and varsity action.