APEX — Lee County baseball coach Charlie Spivey has been a part of the Tri-9 Conference to know that road wins are hard to come by.
It’s even sweeter when it’s the first win of a young season.
The Yellow Jackets scattered nine hits and reached base 21 times in a 7-3 win at Apex on Wednesday.
The host Cougars (2-2, 1-2) had tied Lee (1-3, 1-1) at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth, but the inning ended when a runner was thrown out circling third after a passed ball had scored one Apex runner.
Turning point: Until the top of the sixth inning, Lee County had stranded five runners in scoring position. With a two-RBI double from Hampton Thomas and a two-RBI single from Nolan Groce, the Jackets finally got some of those runners home to push its lead to 7-2.
“They had to play for the big inning then,” said Spivey. “We could pitch a little less careful.”
Putting up numbers: Lee’s Alex Scott went 2-for-3 and also walked twice. He also pitched six innings, allowing six hits and one earned run.“We played some pretty good defense behind him when they did hit it,” Spivey said.
Lee’s Chase Arrington and Dalton Spivey also drove in runs, while Apex’s Preston Long, Lane Olive and Matt Jackson had one RBI apiece.
What worked: Apex starting pitcher Camby Abell allowed one earned run and struck out six. The good news for Lee County, however, it was able to only had to face the UNC-Asheville recruit for four innings.
The Jackets hitters were patient at the plate, picking up four walks and two hit batsmen.
“They did a good job putting pressure on us by putting guys on base,” said Apex coach Mike Valder.
What didn’t work: Apex allowed Scott to get into a groove by swinging early in the first three innings, and Scott faced just 10 batters in the first three innings. Apex’s first hit came in the bottom of the fourth.
“I think in the long run we’ll piece it together,” Valder said. “I think our offense is there, it’s just hard to generate offense when it’s 40 degrees.”
Going forward: Eventually, Lee County will have a chance to pick up its first home win of the season, but that’ll wait till next week. The Yellow Jackets start the season with five road games.
For Apex, Valder was pleased with the scrappiness his team showed in the final two innings, picking up a run in each and leaving four on base.
“That kind of consistent effort is going to be what’s going to define us as we’re moving forward,” Valder said. “Somewhere down the road, that’s going to lead to us picking (a win) up late in the game.”
Out of bounds: Abell had faced seven batters in the first inning but allowed no earned runs and struck out four.
How? The first batter advanced on a dropped third strike, Abell walked two and there was an error at second base. Lee led 1-0 at that point.
Best quote: “I think we were playing risky the whole time. We were walking guys and letting them get on base, and then eventually they did connect. And that’s what cost us the game,” said Apex’s Jackson, a senior.
Blake: 919-460-2606; On Twitter: @JMBpreps