Midtown: Sports

Cooper’s drive lifts Leesville Road baseball over Broughton in 7th inning

Sophomore Dillon Cooper drove a ball to the fence in right-center field to push across the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning Thursday night, as Leesville Road stayed in the race for the Cap Eight baseball title with a 5-4 win against Broughton.

The come-from-behind win tied Leesville with Broughton at 8-4 in the league, one game behind Sanderson, which sat at 9-3 with two regular season games remaining.. The state playoffs will start Friday.

“We’ve talked about overcoming adversity and tonight we fell behind, but the kids have worked hard and tonight we were rewarded,” said Leesville coach Guy Civitello, who was an assistant coach at Panther Creek under current Broughton coach Harry Jones.

“Now we can’t look at the standings. We’ve got tough games left with Heritage and Wake Forest-Rolesville. Those games are all we can control.”

Part of the adversity came early in the season when the Pride lost its top pitcher, Josh Mims, to a torn labrum.

Junior Sam Duncan, making just his second start of the season, got the win on the mound with a complete game.

“Sam has been pitching well in relief, and with three games this week, we needed another pitcher and he came though,” Civitello said.

Duncan’s double started a two-run rally in the second.

Broughton rallied for three runs in the third, with right fielder Austin Walker hitting a two-run homer.

The Caps led 4-2 in the sixth when Leesville scored two with Joe Lenoir’s two-out single tying the score at 4-4.

In the bottom of the seventh, Broughton ace Joe Bialkowski got two outs but then walked leadoff hitter Will Stephens, setting up Dillon’s game winner.

“Cooper has been one of our top hitters, hitting near .400, and Lenoir also got a big hit for us,” Civitello said.

“Give the credit to Civ and his guys,” Broughton’s Jones said. “They battled and battled, played solid defense, and got the hits late when they needed them.

“Walker’s homer was huge for us, and we’ve had guys stepping up like that, but we just haven’t been able to close it.”

Broughton shortstop Dom Ford had two hits in the game.