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Trojans trounce Panthers in subregion matchup

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

LEESBURG -- Lee County's sticks didn't get much work Tuesday.

But when the Trojans did swing, there were runs crossing the plate.

Lee started just four full-time starters and collected only four hits in six innings, but still managed to run away with a 10-0 subregion win against Americus-Sumter.

"We just decided to give some youngsters some opportunities," Trojans coach Rob Williams said. "We didn't hit it much, but hopefully this will help us in the future."

Three of Lee County's four hits left the yard, two of which were three-run homers. Starting pitcher Phillip Anderson mashed his first longball in Leesburg, and usual starter Chase Griffin, who came on to pinch hit in the sixth, ended the game on the 10-run rule with his own three-run smash. Ryan Horne also added a solo home run.

Anderson's off-balance homer to left field in the third broke the game open, putting the Trojans (6-1, 1-0 Region 1S-AAAA) ahead, 5-0.

"(The pitcher) threw me off with the curveball because I was expecting fast," said Anderson, a junior transfer from Thomson. "I just threw my hands at it and hit it."

Anderson's mastery on the mound continued as well. The hard-throwing righty improved to 3-0, putting five more scoreless innings in the book, and has now allowed just one run in 15 innings to open the season.

Anderson, who didn't pitch as a sophomore until the playoffs at Thomson due to an arm injury, allowed just one hit and struck out six. He's K'd 18 in his 15 innings of work thus far.

His emergence, along with the pitching of Matthew Suggs, Jess Posey and a solid group of relievers, has helped the Trojans cruise along without senior staff ace Justin McAlvin, who has missed the first month of the season after off-season surgery.

McAlvin got his cast off last week and has thrown two positive bullpen sessions since, Williams said. He came in to pinch-run late in the game Tuesday.

"He's been bugging us wanting to run," Williams said. "It's probably going to be a couple of weeks (before McAlvin pitches in a game). He'll be a well-rested pitcher when he gets to go."

The Panthers' (1-4, 0-1 Region 1S-AAAA) lone hit came in the first from senior Andrew Alford, one of only two returning starters from a year ago. Freshman Dillon Hughes got his first start as a member of varsity and allowed just two hits

in three innings. One of those hits was Anderson's

three-run homer, though. The Trojans managed to score two runs in the second without registering a hit after Hughes walked two, hit a batter and had a fielding error.

"He's mature for his age," Americus-Sumter coach Steve Smith said of Hughes. "We graduated our whole pitching staff last year. We're trying to rebuild. Our kids knew that coming in, but I think we're going to be better than we thought we were with the kids being as positive as they are."

Horne went 1-for-3 for the Trojans with two RBI. Payton Wade added another RBI on a sacrifice fly.

The Trojans travel to Hardaway on Thursday in subregion play and then face Jones County Friday at home, while Americus faces Jones County on Thursday.