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Lady Cougars fall in MHSAA South State

Lawrence County’s season ended Tuesday in a battle of Lady Cougars after a forced game three went wild in favor of Newton County.

The Lawrence County girls took game one 14-11 and dropped game two by a final score of 22-10 before losing game three 31-12.

“I thought we had a really good game one,” said Lawrence County coach Marc Howard. “We were really explosive and swung the bats well to jump out early against Newton County. We kind of got complacent after the first four innings. Overall, I think game one went well and in games two and three we still played hard and hit the ball well, but Newton’s bats woke up. That was the deciding factor in games two and three.”

Lawrence County 14,

Newton County 11

Lawrence County took an early lead as they scored two runs in their half of the first. With two outs, Skyler Speights singled into right field. Abbie Errington followed with a home run to right center that gave Lawrence a 2-0 lead. 

Newton County answered in the top of the second with a one-out RBI sacrifice.

Lawrence County got that run back, plus a few more, in the bottom of the second. Lily Stephens led off with a double and Alyssa Lambert followed with a single to put runners on the corners.

Lawrence County would score one run off an RBI sacrifice fly by Raylee Ready. Hitting a double into left field, Molly Davis would score Ashley Holden, who had singled before Davis came up to bat.

Monticello’s Lady Cougars would score one more run off an RBI sacrifice by Sydney Pevey before Newton County could get out of the inning to take a 5-1 lead into the third.

Newton County scored two runs in the third off back-to-back home runs.

Lawrence County started to pull away in the bottom of the third, bringing seven runs across the plate.

Speights got the inning going with a leadoff home run over right center. Errington followed with a single and soon found herself touching home plate, as Gracie Hartzog nailed a two-run home run over right center.

Batting with two outs, Holden scored a runner, as she was able to reach second base safely off a Newton County error. Davis drove in two runs as she blasted a two-run home run.

Pevey would finish the scoring in the third inning with a home run before the Newton County Lady Cougars were able to get out of the inning.

The Lawrence County Lady Cougars would get their last two runs of the first game in the fourth inning as Errington nailed her second home run of the contest. The final run for Lawrence County came off an RBI single by Holden.

Lawrence County took a commanding 14-3 lead into the fifth inning.   

The Newton County Lady Cougars started a rally in the fifth, getting four runs off a three-run home run and one run off an RBI double.

They rallied once again in the seventh inning, bringing four runs across the plate off an error by Lawrence County, a two-run home run and an RBI sacrifice fly.

Newton County 22,

Lawrence County 10

Game two saw plenty of home runs, with Newton County hitting most of them.

Batting first in game two, the Lawrence County Lady Cougars drew first blood off two run home runs by Speights and a bases-clearing, three-run RBI double by Lambert.

Newton County responded by batting around in order in the bottom of the first for a combined 12 runs to lead 12-4.

Lawrence County would score two runs in the top of the third, as the ball bounced into the dugout off a single by Stephens.

Newton County extended their lead in the bottom of the third by hitting a leadoff home run, a three-run home run and an RBI single to take a 17-6 lead into the fourth.

The Lawrence County Lady Cougars rallied in the fourth, scoring four runs off an RBI single by Julianna Johnson and a three-run home run by Speights to trail Newton County 17-10.

Newton County finished the game in their half of the fourth by batting in five runs off a pair of two-run home runs and a leadoff home run.

Newton County 31, Lawrence County 12

In a pivotal, winner-take-all game three, Newton County’s bats stayed hot as they managed to outscore Lawrence County by using the long ball.

Newton County jumped out in front off a two-run single, RBI double and an RBI sacrifice.

Lawrence County — trailing 4-0 — got three of the runs back off a two-run home run by Pevey and a solo home run by Hartzog.

The Newton County Lady Cougars added six runs to their total in the second off a three-run home run, an RBI double and a two-run home run to lead 10-6.

Lawrence County fought back, scoring three runs off back-to-back bases loaded walks and a grand slam by Errington and trailed Newton County 10-9 heading into the third.

Newton County blew the game open with 11 runs in the fourth inning.

“This was my first season as head coach and I’m excited about how we did overall,” said Howard.

Howard took over as head coach in the summer when his wife Meleah — the previous head coach — was hired as the head softball coach at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

“I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to have my back,” said Howard. “They battle hard for me, and to finish 25-7 and play for the south state championship, I couldn’t ask for anything better as a first-year coach.”

Story by Dave Linton