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Cross Creek holds off Locust Grove to advance in baseball playoffs

Cross Creek 10, Locust Grove 9

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Jacob Lazenby made sure history would not repeat itself in Game 3.

Lazenby held Locust Grove scoreless over the final two innings to lead Cross Creek to a 10-9 win in the deciding game of the first round of the Class AAA state playoffs on Saturday.

After Locust Grove (14-12) scored a combined seven runs in the sixth and seventh innings to overcome a nine-run deficit and win Game 2, Lazenby called his own name to finish the series and give the Razorbacks a first-round win.

“It had to be done, and I’m not ready to stop playing high school ball yet,” the senior third baseman said. “I’m sore, but it was about perseverance.”

Cross Creek (22-6-1) jumped on the board early with four runs in the first, and Locust Grove answered with a two-run homer by John Shoemaker in the bottom half.

The fourth inning proved crucial, as eight runs crossed the plate between the two teams. Blake Miller drove in three of Cross Creek’s four runs on a homer. However, the Wildcats again answered.

After Razorbacks starter Tyler Groomes was pulled with the bases loaded and one out, Cortez McDowell turned on the first pitch from reliever Tyler Darnall and sent it over the center field fence for a grand slam, bringing the Wildcats back to within two runs.

Cross Creek led by three in the sixth when Locust Grove mounted another comeback. After a run in the sixth, the Wildcats put two on in the seventh and scored one on a sacrifice fly. Down to their last out with the tying run on third, Brad Elkins hit a grounder to first baseman Joseph Osborne that went through his legs to score the tying run.

Lazenby held Locust Grove scoreless in the eighth and ninth innings, giving the Razorbacks a chance to go ahead. They did so in the ninth, as pinch-hitter Joshua Iacobucci doubled home pinch-runner Blake Todd from first base to give the Razorbacks the go-ahead run.

“It was a great effort on both sides, a great series overall,” Cross Creek coach Tavis Cummings said. “We could have packed it in when they came back, but we stayed in there. Hats off to them, too. They were the scrappiest team we’ve played.”

Miller, the starting pitcher in Game 2, gave up two earned runs in 3⅓ innings after Darnall exited following the fourth inning. His three-run homer proved to be important runs after the Wildcat comeback in the home half of the fourth, as well.

Lazenby was held hitless but reached base three times when he was hit twice and walked. His final two innings earned him his 12th win on the season.

“He’s a bulldog,” Cummings said. “That about sums it up. He asked for the ball today; I wasn’t even planning to use him. But I think it would have hurt him worse not pitching.”

Cross Creek will play LaGrange at home Wednesday in the second round.


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