6 straight county titles for LawCo
MOULTON, Mar 10, 2013 (The Decatur Daily - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Huddled near the third-base line, the members of Lawrence County High's baseball team sent a message before walking off the field.
"Six in a row," the team chanted as it broke the night's final huddle.
Tanner Reed pitched five strong innings, and Lawrence County rallied in the fifth inning to beat rival Hatton 5-1 Saturday night for the program's sixth straight county title.
"This is important to these boys," Lawrence County coach Jason Goodwin said. "The seniors on this team have high expectations. This is a senior-laden team, and we feel like this group has an opportunity to be pretty good, and this is the first step."
As a sophomore last season, Reed burst onto the scene as potential budding star. The right-hander was a first-team selection on The Daily's Class 4A-6A all-area baseball team.
Reed's stock isn't dropping.
Through five innings, Reed was sharp. He struck out 12 while giving up two hits. His only stumble was on the sixth when a leadoff walk resulted in a Reed Gillespie RBI single. Blake Pulliam shut the Hornets down the rest of the way, striking out three in 1 2/3 innings.
Reed is Lawrence County's (8-3) pitching ace, but Goodwin has limited his innings during the season's first month. He is averaging about two strikeouts per inning.
"I felt like I had my good stuff today," said Reed, who improved to 3-1.
"I just kind of got into a groove where I was hitting my spots and getting guys out."
Lawrence County catcher Carson Jones said with Reed, performances like Saturday's have become the expectation.
"He was a big-game pitcher for us last year," Jones said. "When he's putting the fastball where he wants it, like he was tonight, he's going to get guys out. Any time Tanner is on the mound, we're confident that we can win."
For Lawrence County, five was the magic number: Reed's five stout innings coupled with a five-run rally in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Through four innings, Lawrence County stranded six base runners. That trend changed in the fifth when Cody Wilkerson led off the inning with a double -- the Red Devils' first leadoff hit of the night.
Trace White gave Lawrence County a 1-0 lead with an RBI single, and the Red Devils pushed four more runs across the plate on a hit and three Hatton errors.
Pulliam led Lawrence County at the plate, finishing 3-for-4. Jones and White added two hits each.
Gillespie and Michael Walker led Hatton with one hit each.
Following the game, Reed said that extending the Red Devils dominance of the Lawrence County tournament to six years was "important," but he also referred to the feat as a "stepping stone."
"What we're doing now is to help us get ready for area play," he said. "This is the stepping stone for that. Right now, we're playing with confidence. We've got to make sure that continues."
Hatton 8, East Lawrence 6: The Hornets picked up the win in the county semifinal when Nic Farley scored on a double in the sixth inning.
Taylor Latham finished with a single and a double with one run scored, while Jared Pravnicek contributed a run, two singles and two RBIs in the win.
Reid Harrison got the pitching win, striking out one through three innings.
Contact Justin Graves at 256-340-2460 or by email at email@example.com.
___ (c)2013 The Decatur Daily (Decatur, Ala.) Visit The Decatur Daily (Decatur,
Ala.) at www.decaturdaily.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
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