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Crisp County baseball advances to Elite 8

Cougars build early lead, then hold on

CORDELE — Crisp County scored five runs in the top of the second inning, then held off a late West Laurens rally to win the third and deciding game of the Class AAAA best-of-three second round series, 6-4.

The Cougars advance to the quarterfinals where they will travel to Loganville to meet Walnut Grove on Tuesday. Walnut Grove swept perennial state power Columbus High on Wednesday.

It was the second straight series that Crisp needed three games to win the series. The Cougars split their first round with South Effingham, then rolled to a 9-0 rout in the third and final game last Saturday.

On Thursday, the deciding game was a little more nerve-wracking for the Cougars and their fans.

Whit Campbell earned the victory, working 4 2/3 innings before reliever Logan Carter finished the game to earn the save.

The second inning was enough to send the Cougars back to the quarterfinals.

“That was something we decided that we had to have … an early start to get on top,” Crisp County coach Bill Pate said. “We needed to take the momentum early and then try and make them steal it back.”

The Raiders scored two in the fifth inning to trim the deficit to two runs before Carter closed the door on their rally.