Lawrence Co edges North Pike

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, April 13, 2016

MONTICELLO – T-Tez Cole hit a solo homer in the bottom of the sixth to propel the Lawrence County Cougars to a 1-0 victory over North Pike Tuesday night in a critical Division 6-4A high school baseball game. Cole’s blast, along with a Josh Stephens four-hit shutout gave LCHS the opening victory in what is basically a best-of-three series for the division title.

With the win, Josh Garrett’s Cougars improved to 20-1 overall, and 13-0 in Division 6-4A play. North Pike, coached by George Lott, fell to 20-2 overall, and 12-1 in the division. The series will conclude on Friday with a double-header at North Pike. Lawrence County needs one win to claim the division championship, while the Jaguars must sweep the double-header.

“That was a great ballgame,” said Garrett. “Both pitchers did a great job. Both teams defended well. We just had one more big swing than they did.

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It’s great to get this win,” Garrett continued, “but one win in this series gets you beat. We’ve got to get ready to go to their place and do it again.”

Both Stephens and North Pike hurler Ben Coney were masterful, and both got great performances from their defenses. There were only three strikeouts in the entire game – Coney had two and Stephens had one – so both defenses had to make a lot of outs. Both did.

“I thought our catcher – Prentiss Anderson – was an unsung hero in this game,” said Garrett. “North Pike is so good on the bases, and Prentiss and Josh did a fine job of slowing them down. That was a key to the game.”

North Pike got runners into scoring position in each of the first two innings, but failed to score. Lawrence County got a two-out triple from Gabriel Lewis in the bottom of the second, but he was stranded. Neither team threatened in the third or fourth.

In the top of the fifth, Jaguar second baseman Matthew Phillips led off with a single and eventually made his way to third, only to be stranded. Phillips led North Pike with two hits. In the bottom of the inning, Lewis led off with a single, but was cut down trying to advance all the way to third base on a sacrifice bunt.

After North Pike went quietly in the top of the sixth, Cole put up the only run of the night, slamming a 1-1 offering from Coney over the center field wall. It was the seventh homerun of the season for Cole, who has played his senior season on a badly injured knee that will require surgery after the season.

In the top of the seventh, Stephens retired the first two batters quickly, but then surrendered singles to Phillips and Tyler Alexander. Stephens ended the game by enticing pinch hitter Jacob Edmonds to hit a soft fly to center field.

“Josh isn’t a very big guy,” said long-time LCHS assistant Craig Davis, “and he doesn’t throw very hard. Because of that I don’t think he gets his due. He’s had one of the greatest pitching seasons in the history of our program, and he sure came up big for us tonight.”

Lawrence County won in similar fashion in a five-inning junior varsity game, edging the Jaguars 3-2. Marquez Hudson worked five solid innings, striking out three. Catcher Oliver Moreman led the Cougars with two hits.