The runs were few and far between, but Lee County outdueled Southern Lee in a game that came down to the bookend first and seventh innings. The Yellow Jackets came away with a 5-3 win against the crosstown rival Cavaliers in front of almost 300 fans Friday night at Southern Lee.
All eight runs were scored either in the opening or closing inning.
“We just went in fired up,” Lee County third baseman Drayton Lamb said. “We fed off the energy all night. It was contagious.”
N&O No. 13 Southern Lee (19-5, 10-2) had locked up the Cape Fear Valley 3A’s regular-season conference title after Tuesday’s 5-2 win at No. 15 Lee County (15-5, 9-3), but there’s a chance they’ll get to decide the season series for good next week.
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The conference tournament is slated for Monday, Tuesday and Thursday with Southern Lee getting a first-round bye and hosting the semifinals and, if victorious, the championship. Lee County gets the No. 3 seed behind Fayetteville Terry Sanford.
They said it
“We stranded six runners in the first three innings. You can put them out there and hopefully you knock them in, but tonight we didn’t. On Tuesday night, we got guys on base in the sixth inning (Lee County had a no-hitter until that point) and we knocked them in. That’s baseball.” – Southern Lee coach David Miller.
Trailing 2-0, Southern Lee had the bases loaded with nobody out in the first but could only scrape one across on a sac fly by Hayden Cross.
Lee County pitcher Trey North (three innings, two strikeouts, one hit, five walks) settled down after that, and reliever Spencer Faulk (four innings, three strikeouts, four hits, one walk) did the rest.
Three to know
Drayton Lamb, Lee County: Tripled in leadoff batter Evan Wells, who walked to start the game, to put the Yellow Jackets ahead 1-0. Jake Thomas’ groundout to short drove in Lamb in the next at-bat to make it 2-0. Also singled in a run in the seventh. Went 3-for-4.
Josh Taylor, Southern Lee: Despite the loss, Taylor was solid on the mound. After the Yellow Jackets took a 2-0 lead in the first three batters, he got into a groove. Taylor ended the night with 6 1/3 innings pitched with four strikeouts, two walks and eight hits given up.
Spencer Faulk, Lee County: Didn’t have a hit but held it down in relief to pick up the save.
By the numbers
3: Runs for Lee County in the seventh, supplied by a Bailey Howard sac fly, Matt Hutchens scoring on a wild pitch and Lamb’s single.
2: Runs for Southern Lee in the seventh, a RBI double by Topher Grant that brought in Owen Bond and a fielder’s choice by Josh Taylor to bring in Grant.
5: Consecutive scoreless innings for both sides from the second through the sixth inning.
4: Southern Lee players with hits: Cameron Wells (1-2), Topher Grant (2-3, RBI), Chapman Hayes (1-3) and Bond (2-3).
5: Lee County players with hits: Lamb, Tyler Toro (1-1), Howard (1-2, 1 RBI), Grant Frye (1-1) and Keaton Forbes (1-1).