Trailing 4-2, the Southeast Lauderdale High School baseball team was hoping to at least tie the game when it came up to bat in the bottom of the fifth.
Instead, the Tigers would blow the game open by scoring nine runs that inning en route to an 11-4 victory against Newton County High School Saturday afternoon.
Aided by a couple of errors while trying to field bunts, Southeast’s bats came to life in a big way, and Tigers head coach Shay Cooper said his players simply took advantage of what Newton County gave them.
“They made a couple of errors, and it just kind of snowballed on them,” Cooper said. “Then we got some big swings after they put some people on base. I’m proud of that. We made the most of our opportunities, and that was big, because this is a good Newton County team.” Cougars head coach Wyatt Tullos said the ill-timed errors gave Southeast far too big a cushion.
“It wasn’t pretty,” Tullos said. “We have to execute better. You can’t give a good team extra outs, and we did. Southeast is a good team; Coach Cooper does a good job. We gave them some extra outs to play with, and they made it hurt. They did a good job.”
Mason Irby cut Newton County’s lead to 4-3 when he came home on a double by Nathan Ross in the bottom of the fifth. Ross then scored on a singly by Brett Carney, and Carney came around on a single by Jake Miller.
Later in the inning, Dylan Shirley scored on a sacrifice fly by Trevor Shirley, and a two-run double by James Gibson plated two more runs. Irby followed that up with a triple that scored an additional two, and Irby later scored again on his second time in the fifth on a squeeze play.
The Tigers scored early when Ross came home on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the first, then they extended their lead to 2-0 in the second on a single by Gage Hagan that plated Austin Quigley. Newton County tied the game 2-2 in the top of the third when Walter Williams scored from third on a sacrifice fly by Peyton Cain and Jacob Edwards came home on a Cain Cleveland double.
In the top of the fifth, Newton County got its only lead of the game when Edwards scored on a passed ball and Cain scored on a fielding error, making it 4-2 Cougars.
Jake Smith got the win, pitching four innings for Southeast and surrendering four runs on one hit with three walks and two hit batters.
Tanner Elders took the loss for Newton County, pitching four innings and giving up five runs — four earned — on six hits with four walks and three strikeouts.
Hagan finished the game 2-for-3 for Southeast, and Irby was 2-for-2. Quigley went 2-for-3. Cleveland was Newton County’s only multiple hitter, and he finished the game 2-for-4.
Newton County (11-7, 4-1) will play at Northeast Jones High School Tuesday.
Southeast fell to Quitman High School in its second game Saturday evening.
Deundre Hodge took the loss for Southeast, going six innings and giving up five runs on four hits. He also walked seven and fanned five batters.
No one for Southeast had more than one hit. Ross hit a triple for the Tigers.
Southeast (11-7, 6-0) will host Northeast Lauderdale High School Monday.