MAYO, Fla. — From diving catches to double plays, Lafayette made some outstanding plays in the field and did not commit an error on Tuesday.
That defensive effort and another good showing from pitcher Jarrett Pearson pushed the Hornets past Hamilton County for a 3-1 victory.
“I try to live on defense,” said Lafayette coach Tim Hanson. “Some days you’re going to hit, some days you’re not. I think defense is where it’s at.”
The first big play for the LHS defense came in the top of the second inning when Hamilton County was threatening with runners on first and second base with one out. Center fielder Austin Severance ran down a fly ball in the right-center field gap to deny Logan Hughes an extra-base hit. Not only did the running catch keep the Trojans from scoring, it also set the tone for the rest of the game.
An inning later, Severance made a diving catch.
The Hornets took an early 2-0 lead and held on with great defense and pitching.
Third baseman Jaxson Beach made all five plays hit his way — four putouts and one assist. He had a leaping grab on a hard line drive in the fifth inning.
Pearson allowed six hits in six innings pitched, but only gave up one run. He improved to 4-0 on the season and now sports a 1.00 ERA in 28 innings pitched.
“Austin made a couple of really good plays, turning that double play early, Jaxson’s catch at third, a strike ‘em out throw ‘em out, — all those things were very important,” Hanson said.
Beach (1-2, RBI, SB, BB) led off the bottom of the first inning with a hit and came around to score on Joseph Perry’s hard-hit single to the gap in left center to give LHS a 1-0 lead. The Hornets scored again in the second inning on Beach’s sacrifice fly that plated Severance.
Perry and Landen Brock had multiple hits for the Hornets.
The score remained 2-0 in favor of the Lafayette until the sixth inning when the Trojans took advantage of a leadoff walk to score and get within one run of the lead. Devin Cherry (1-2, BB) got on base with a walk, stole second and then scored when Brent Howard singled up the middle.
Offensively, Hamilton County (3-13, 0-4) made solid contact and struck out just five times on the night. Blake Howard had two hits and Jerel Tolle went 2-3 with a double, but the Trojans couldn’t pull off the comeback in their final district game of the regular season.
“Believe it or not, we’re getting better,” said Trojans coach Chris Howard, whose team received strong pitching performances from Blake Howard and DeNandre Johnson while committing just one error. “We had runners on base and we didn’t get it done.”
Dylan Mock came on to pitch the final inning for the Hornets and record the save. He struck out two.
Lafayette (10-3, 2-1) will play five straight games at home, starting with Union County on Thursday and then Dixie County on Monday. The Hornets’ final district game of the regular season will be played April 16 when Madison County visits Mayo.
Hamilton County will also have a long home stand with its next six games being played in Jasper. The Trojans host Valwood on Thursday and then Bell on Tuesday.