Luke Roland, left, went 4-for-4 in Tuesday's win against Bainbridge, while Clint Mosley picked up the win on the mound.
LEESBURG — Lee County is hot — and getting hotter.
Forget about that four-game slump when the Trojans were scuffling a bit. That’s over. The fat lady has been singing for a while now.
It’s a popular tune (maybe Phillip Phillips will sing it) around Leesburg, where the only thing left of the slump is a bad memory.
It seemed like a lifetime ago Tuesday when the Trojans put a 12-2, five-inning, mercy-rule beating on Region 1-AAAA sub-region rival Bainbridge to win their third in a row.
“We knew we could do it. It was just a matter of time,’’ said Lee County first baseman Daniel Nichols of climbing out of the slump. “It was a mental game with us.’’
Nichols has been thinking clearly all year. He’s batting .621 after belting his sixth home run Tuesday — a two-run shot to center — and driving in three runs. He has driven in 18 runs in 11 games.
But he’s not alone. Everybody at Lee is swinging the bats these days. The team batting average climbed above .300 after the Trojans (7-4 overall, 1-0 in the 1-AAAA sub-region) banged out 11 hits in less than five innings. They scored the closeout run in the fifth when pinch-hitter Luke Earley got his first varsity hit — an RBI single that brought home the 12th run.
“I told him, ‘The first fastball you see, just get all over it,’ ” Lee County coach Rob Williams said.
He did. Earley watched a curveball miss and then rapped a fastball past the shortstop to end the game that started with Lee scoring four in the first and three in the second — a game that saw Earley get his first hit and Luke Roland get his first 4-for-4 night of the season.
“I was just seeing it and hitting it,’’ said Roland, who doubled to left, doubled to center and ripped off two singles. He also scored twice and drove in two runs.
That’s life at Lee County these days, where it has been a hit parade lately.
“We have had 10 or more hits in our last three games,’’ Williams said. “We had four games where we didn’t swing the bats very well. But to their credit, they came out every day and kept working. I told them to believe in it and it will get there. The No. 1 thing was they believed in themselves.’’
It was easy to believe on Tuesday, especially the way Chris Mosley was pitching. He didn’t give up a hit until the fourth and struck out four in four innings, facing just 12 batters before losing his control in the fifth. He walked Trevor Watts in the third, and then promptly picked him off to end the inning.
He got some help from right fielder Mark Fowler, who made the play of the game. It looked like Kyle Horne had broken up Mosley’s no-hitter when he slapped a liner to right, but Fowler charged the ball and threw out Horne at first on a rare 9-3 put-out.
“That was awesome,’’ said Mosley, who picked up his first win of the season. He’s 1-1 with two saves, but he lost control in the fifth, walking the first three batters before giving way to Ty McAllister, who gave up a walk and an RBI single to pinch-hitter Miguel Williams to close to 11-2. That second run forced Lee to have to bat in the fifth, but McAllister led off with a single and pinch-runner Matt Hatcher scored later on Earley’s two-out single that actually brought home two runs. The game ended when Hatcher crossed the plate.
That’s the same Matt Hatcher who pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings in relief on Monday against Tift County in his first varsity game.
“He came into the game with the bases loaded and got a strikeout and ground out to get out of it,’’ Williams said of his freshman’s dramatic debut Monday. “He has ice water in his veins.’’
Everything seems to be working for the Trojans these days.
“They swung the bats,’’ said Bainbridge coach Scott Miller, who blamed himself for not having his kids prepared for Lee. “I didn’t have us ready for this game. I take full responsibility for that. You can’t do that against a good team like Lee County.’’
Bainbridge is now 6-5 and 1-1 in the 1-AAAA sub-region race. The Trojans lead the sub-region and couldn’t have felt better about Tuesday’s win.
“It feels pretty good to go out there and get that first win,’’ Mosley said. “We got into (a four-game losing streak) and now we’re digging ourselves out. It was because of a lot of hard work. Now we’re getting better and better.’’
That’s obvious. Lee County is hot — and getting hotter.
ROUNDUP: Westwood, Deerfield, Pelham all win Tuesday
CAMILLA — The Westwood baseball team routed region foe Randolph Souther, 10-0, in five innings Tuesday thanks to a big day at the plate and on the mound from Caleb Morrell, who struck out eight, allowed six hits — all singles — and then blasted his fourth HR of the year as the Wildcats improved to 5-1.
Mason Worsham, Douglas Nobles, Kaleb Bently and Chason Worsham all had two hits each as both Worshams and Nobles had doubles.
Westwood next plays at Terrell Academy on Thursday.
DEERFIELD 5, TIFTAREA 3: The Knights improved to 5-2 overall and 1-1 in Region 3-AAA thanks to Weston King’s complete game during which he struck out two and gave up six hits.
King also had a double and an RBI, while Harris Webb was 2-for-3 and Samm Shellhaas was 2-for-3 with a run scored. DWS next plays Sherwood at home Friday.
PELHAM 8, BACONTON 5: The Hornets improved to 8-6 overall and 2-2 in region thanks to Cody Godwin’s solid day.
Godwin earned the win on the mound, going the didtance and then was 2-for-3 from the plate with a double. Blake Segers went 2-for-4 for Pelham, which next hosts Miller County on Friday.