By Chris Yow
COLUMBIA — Lawrence County scored four runs in each of the first, second and seventh innings to earn a 12-2 win at Columbia Central on Tuesday.
Scheduled for an early 3:30 p.m. first pitch, the game beat the incoming wet weather, but the Wildcats dampened Columbia’s mood almost immediately after stepping onto the field.
Colton Moore got off to a hot start with a double in the first to bring home Luke Mattox. Luke Nichols and Avery Tidwell each had RBI singles as well in the early going.
The second inning must have felt like deja vu all over again for Columbia Central pitcher Drew Sharp.
Moore doubled again for another RBI in the second. He would finish the day 3-for-5 with three RBIs. Nichols and Tidwell added RBI singles as well in the inning.
“To be able to get on them early right there, we were able to ride that momentum for a while,” Lawrence County coach Brad White said. “We didn’t really capitalize after that, but it was enough.”
Sam Pate came on in relief of Sharp, who surrendered just four earned runs of the eight that crossed the plate in the first two innings. Pate did shut down the Wildcats for much of the contest after coming in to start the third inning.
Pate pitched three shutout innings before another big inning from Lawrence County put the game away.
For the Wildcats, Zackery Graves was phenomenal on the bump. He went six innings and scattered eight hits, giving up just two earned runs and striking out seven Lions hitters.
“He was really kind of laboring at the end, but we didn’t help him much either,” White said. “We kicked the ball around some, but he held his composure well and he kept doing his job.”
White’s bunch committed two errors in the game, while Columbia had four. White said some of that could be due to moving guys around in the field and in the lineup.
“I didn’t realize how important scrimmages were, but until you put everybody together and see how it meshes, it’s tough,” he said. “I’ll play a different lineup tomorrow.
“We’re basically doing our preseason during the season and hoping it doesn’t come back to bite us.”
Lincoln English led Columbia at the dish, going 2-for-3 and scoring both of the Lions’ runs.