SPORTS EDITOR BLOG — Lafayette’s Commodores made sure they got another bus trip to Amory by defeating the Panthers 4-3 Saturday night at W.V. Brewer Field. The win by LHS evened the best-of-three Class 4A second-round playoff series at 1-1 and set up the deciding Game 3 on Monday at Amory at 7 p.m.
LHS coach Greg Lewis called Saturday’s win awesome and said he thought his team would see Amory’s top pitcher, Will Cox, in Monday’s elimination game.
“If he doesn’t start, we’ll get him early. I’ll be surprised if we don’t get him. I think they feel like they can score three to five (runs) like they did tonight and if we get two or three, I think they’ll get him quick,” said Lewis, who is looking to make the North Half finals for the first time as a coach. “I don’t know if we’re due, you just got to get it done, especially when you go up against Cox. That’s hard to say that your due. Plus we have to go over there and play. If it was here, I would feel a lot more comfortable of course. But I don’t think (fans) bothered us (Friday). We played good enough to win (Friday), we just didn’t quite get enough hits and they of course got the grand slam on us in the first.”
LHS senior centerfielder, Luke McCullough, said he was ready to see Cox again and thought the Commodores would be ready to win at Amory.
“That had that big first inning, we won six innings and they won one. I knew coming into (Saturday) that we were going to win this game and push it to Game 3. I’m pretty sure that we’ll end up seeing their No. 1 guy again. We want to see him again. We know what he’s got and we hit him pretty hard,” McCullough said.
Two gritty pitching performances from Blake Witt and Luke Stanley and some great defensive stops made the biggest differences for the Commodores in their win over the Panthers, who won the first game of the series 5-3. Witt earned the victory as he started, while Stanley came on in relief to record his first save in the postseason.
Witt only gave up three hits and three runs in his 5.1 innings of work, while Stanley only gave up one hit to the six batters he faced in the sixth and seventh innings.
LHS trailed 2-1 heading into the bottom of the second inning, but the Commodores regrouped against Amory starter Drew Pickle in the bottom half of the frame by scoring three runs on two hits and three Panther errors. The biggest hit of the inning belonged to Josh Mills, who drove in Stanley and Jarrett Patton with double to left-centerfield. (May 9, 2010)