Yellow Jackets get gem for 5-0 win
Hampton Thomas pitched Lee County to its first win of the baseball season Wednesday afternoon at Western Harnett. Thomas, a senior, allowed one hit and four Eagles on base total in six innings and one big rally gave the Yellow Jackets a 5-0 victory over the Eagles.
Last Wednesday in Sanford, the Eagles (2-1) topped the Yellow Jackets (1-3) 8-6. Western Harnett continued last week to blowout Overhills while the Jackets dropped games to Cary and Pinecrest.
Thomas (1-1) and Eagle hurler D.J. Locklear (1-1) dueled until the fifth inning when the Jackets didn't exactly hit Locklear hard, but they put lots of men on base and took advantage of Eagle errors to turn a threat to score into a huge inning.
While only notching two hits in the first four innings versus Locklear, the Jackets got runners into scoring position twice.
In the fifth, Quinn Setzer's hard single through the left side of the infield led things off for the Jackets. Jerry Jacobs, in the ninth spot of the order, put a bunt down and a wild throw turned a sacrifice into Jackets on second and third and no outs.
After Spencer Faulk drew a walk, Pressley Hales hit a hard chopper bouncing into left field plating Setzer for the game's first run.
The Jackets kept going a station at a time with Nolan Groce's RBI walk and, now with Dillon Powers replacing Locklear on the mound, Thomas hitting a fly to right, which was deep enough to be a sacrifice, but dropped for an error, leaving the bases loaded and still no outs.
Patrick Bethea's sacrifice fly to center made it 4-0 and Setzer was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded for a 5-0 Jacket lead.
Powers completed the fifth against the Jackets, then Colby Patterson and Ryan Allen pitched an inning apiece for the Eagles.
The Jackets had plenty of runs though as Thomas retired the last seven Eagles he faced in order. He finished with eight strikeouts and three walks.
Austin Bullock took care of the Eagle seventh, allowing a single and getting one strikeout.
Thomas, in the clean-up spot of the Jacket order, went 2 for 3 with two singles and an RBI. Lee County managed four hits on the day and the Jackets left 10 men on base.
On the softball field at Western Harnett, the Lady Eagles (1-2) avenged a loss to Lee County (1-1) from last week with an 8-6 victory.
The Lady Eagles led 8-3 going to the last inning and held off a Lady Jacket rally which got the tying runner to second and the go-ahead runner on first. Devyn Eatmon pitched the first 6.1 innings and got the win. Tess Womack got the last two outs for the save.
Western Harnett got out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. At the top of the order Meredith Randolph, Megan Holder and Kaitlyn Johnson reached base and scored for the early lead.
Chandler Patterson's two-run home run led a three-run Lady Jacket third which tied the game briefly. Western Harnett answered with two runs in the home half of the third.
Patterson and Caroline Wilson scored two runs each for Lee County.
Randolph went 3 for 4 and scored two runs for the Lady Eagles. Holder also went 3 for 4. Randolph, Kaitlyn Johnson, Jamin Roberts and Taylor Johnson each hit doubles.
Lee County defeated Western Harnett 8-5 last week on its home field.
The Lady Jackets will travel to face former Tri-Nine mate Middle Creek at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Western Harnett will get a second chance versus county rival Overhills, at Overhills at 6 p.m. Friday. Overhills beat Western Harnett 12-6 last Friday.
On the baseball diamond, the Jackets are slated to host Cary at 4:30 p.m. Friday while the Eagles will visit Overhills for a 5 p.m. start Friday.