Lee County head coach Rob Williams said after Friday's loss to Hardaway: “Three hits, nine strikeouts, three errors. That’s not a good combination."
LEESBURG — Call it a funk or a slump or any other term used for struggling at the plate. Whatever it is, Lee County’s bats have come down with a bad case of it.
The Trojans managed just three hits Friday in the Region 1-AAAA opener and lost their third game in a row, 4-2, to Hardaway. Lee County, which started the season 4-0, hasn’t lost three in a row in four years — that drought coming during a four-game losing streak in early March of 2008.
“We’re just in a little bit of a funk,” said Trojans’ junior Andrew Stroud, who went 1-for-3 Friday with Lee’s only run-scoring hit. “We just need someone to step up. We’re lagging with the bats right now, (but) we’re going to get it corrected.”
Lee County (4-3, 0-1 Region 1-AAAA) had its chances. The Trojans put runners on second and third with no outs in the sixth inning, trailing just 3-2, but their bats couldn’t find leather in the clutch.
Hardaway freshman pitcher Trevon Dorsey, who came on in relief in the fourth inning, struck out three straight batters to end the threat. The Hawks (2-5, 1-1 Region 1-AAAA) added a run in the seventh on Blake Meadows’ bloop single for an insurance run.
Dorsey slammed the door in the final half of the inning.
“Three hits, nine strikeouts, three errors,” Lee County head coach Rob Williams said afterward.
Williams continued: “That’s not a good combination. We’ve got to get the bat on the ball with runners at third with less than two outs and scratch some runs (across).”
Dorsey, who got the win in relief, made sure that wouldn’t happen. The freshman lefty struck out five in a row in the sixth and seventh and finished with seven Ks in four innings of work. He allowed no runs and just one hit.
Lee County starting pitcher Chris Mosley gave up just two runs in four innings. He struck out five and allowed six hits but had trouble locating his breaking pitch, and the Hawks sat on the fastball in the fourth, scoring the game’s first two runs.
“Even though we’re not pitching as good as we need to pitch, we’re keeping it close enough,” Williams said.
The Trojans tied the game at 2-2 in their half of the fourth when Daniel Nichols laced a double to left and Stroud drove him in with another rope off the left field wall. Stroud later scored on a sacrifice bunt by Steve Edwards that was thrown away by the Hawks’ defense.
Lee County missed its chance at a big inning when Mark Fowler was thrown out at home in a rundown after a failed suicide squeeze attempt. Hardaway shortstop Logan Robinson then robbed Matt Mears of a go-ahead single with a diving stop on a grounder and a throw to first to end the inning.
It was that kind of night for the Trojans, who scored 41 runs in their first four games but have managed just three runs per game during their current three-game losing streak.
“We’ve got a pretty good team,” Stroud said. “It’s not showing right now, but if everybody gets clicking …”
The first four games of the season are evidence of what the Trojans’ bats can do. Friday, though, only Stroud, Nichols and Fowler had hits. Hardaway was led by Josh Anthony (2-for-4, RBI) and Tyler Dukes (2-for-3, RBI).
Lee County, which travels to Northside, Warner Robins Tuesday in region play, was without senior Jess Posey, who has a small fracture on a toe. Posey did pinch-hit in the sixth and went down swinging, but is still unable to play defense. Williams said there is a possibility Posey could pitch Tuesday, but the likely starter is sophomore T.J. Roberts. After Friday’s loss, Posey, who is 2-0 this season with just one run allowed, grabbed a glove and threw pitches off a side mound.
“He’s wanting to get back,” Williams said of his senior, who missed all but six games in 2011 to a back injury. “It’s about to kill him.”