DECATUR — The Cougars are moving on.
Behind the pitching of Hayze West and some timely hitting, Newton County shut out St. Stanislaus 7-0 in Game 2 of the first round of the MHSAA Class 4A Baseball Playoffs at Mark Fanning Field on Friday night.
With the win, the Cougars (15-11) sweep the series and advance to face the North Pike-Greene County winner in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs next weekend.
“Hayze was lights out. He was in control from the beginning and has been pitching well the last several weeks,” said Newton County coach Wyatt Tullos. “He had command of three pitches and kept them off balance all night and we were able to scratch runs across.”
Newton County picked up three runs in the bottom of the second inning on a RBI groundout with the bases loaded by Braxton Thoms, and two runs came across the plate on a throwing error to give the Cougars a 3-0 lead.
Three more runs came in the bottom of the third inning on a two-run single by Riley Cain and a RBI single by Thoms.
“In the playoffs, you need timely hitting,” Tullos said. “And we got a few last night and we did again tonight Hayze was the man tonight. He got on the mound and he was great. Now, we get to move on to the second round.”
West tossed a complete game, scattering two hits and three walks with eight strikeouts to improve to 7-3 on the mound.
“I was just trying to throw strikes and not over power anything and stay in the strike zone,” West said. “I started off with a bunch of curve balls and then ended with fast balls. We’ve been struggling at the plate lately, but last night and tonight we hit the ball well. We have to continue to swing the bats better as we move on to the next round.”
Cole Fletcher (4-3) took the loss on the mound for St. Stanislaus. The Rock-a-chaws finish the season 18-8.
“A lot of credit to Newton County. They came out and swung the bat great and got big hits when they needed too,” said St. Stanislaus coach Brad Corley. “Their two pitchers kept us off balance last night and tonight and we didn’t get the big hit when we needed to.”