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Lady Cougars sweep Vancleave — Lawrence County takes down Lady Bulldogs in two games, 3-1, 2-1 (8)

After winning a close game Monday night, 3-1, the Lady Cougars found themselves in another low scoring game. Lawrence County needed eight innings to finish the sweep of Vancleave Tuesday night, winning 2-1 and advancing to the final four of the MHSAA 4A state playoffs.

With the game tied at one after two full innings, it quickly became a pitching duel. Both teams’ pitchers kept goose eggs on the board with the game’s regulation ending in a tie. The Lady Cougars came through in the clutch, as Sydney Pevey delivered the game-winning run, in the eighth inning.

“Tonight’s game was a tough game against a good Vancleave team,” Lady Cougars coach Meleah Howard said. “Their pitcher is one of the best we’ve seen all year. I’m very proud of our girls and how hard they worked through the highs and lows. I told the girls it would come down to the wire, and it definitely did.”

Sitting Vancleave Lady Bulldogs down in order to start off the game, Lawrence County  pounced on the board first.

Josey Nations led off the bottom half of the first for the Cougars notching a single to shortstop. Tyranesha Davis followed with a single of her own. With one out, Skyler Speights delivered the game’s first run on a RBI sacrifice.

The Lady Bulldogs got the run back in their half of the second inning. Jaeyynn Palmer led off the inning with a double. Madison Lambert reached on an error by the Lady Cougars, which scored Palmer. Although Jenna Pacheco managed to reach the bases on an error, the Lady Cougars were able to strand her, striking out one batter and popping up two batters.

Lawrence County managed to get a baserunner on in their half of the second, as Abbie Errington hit a one-out single. The Lady Bulldogs left Errington on second base, who had advanced to second on a passed ball, striking out the next two batters.

The Vancleave girls tried to take the lead in the top of the third, getting two runners on, one by a walk and one by an error, but the Lady Cougars kept them from scoring.

The Cougars attempted to take the lead in the bottom of the third, getting base runners on with two outs, but Vancleave was able to strand the runners, ending the inning on a strikeout.

After the fourth inning went three up and three down for both teams, the Lady Bulldogs tried once again to take the lead, getting back to back walks with one out. Lawrence County got out of the inning off of a ground ball to Nations and a strikeout.

With the game still tied after seven innings, the teams moved into extra innings.

With the tie breaker rule in place, Lady Bulldog Erin Daughtery was placed on second base. Makayla White moved Daughtery over to third, on a fielder’s choice ground ball.

The Lady Cougars caught Daughtrey trying to steal home and were able to apply the tag as she was attempting to get back to third base.

Running for Nations, Gin Fortenberry made her way to second base in the final frame of the eighth inning for the Cougars. Davis stepped up to the plate and kept the Lady Cougars chances of ending the game alive when she delivered a bunt single that the Vancleave pitcher was unable to handle. Batting next, Pevey ended the game, and the series, as she singled a fly ball into left field, scoring Fortenberry.

Nations picked up the win for the Lady Cougars, going all eight innings while allowing one hit and one run and picking up nine strikeouts.

Pevey led the Lady Cougars at the plate with a double, single and an RBI. Nations notched two singles. Davis also notched two singles. Speights had a single and an RBI. Julianna Johnson also had a single. Errington finished the hitting for the Lady Cougars with a single.

The Lawrence County Lady Cougars will travel to Newton County Saturday to take on the Lady Cougars for game one in the South State championship.

The Lady Cougars will be home Monday, as they host Newton County for game two.

Story by Dave Linton