By Brad Locke
OXFORD – The bitter streak is over for Lafayette County.
The Commodores posted their first regular season victory over arch-rival Oxford in seven years, knocking off the Chargers 4-2 Tuesday night in a Region 2-4A game.
It was also the first regular season win for sixth-year Lafayette coach Richy Harrelson. The Commodores beat Oxford in a 2004 first-round playoff game, but the Chargers defeated Lafayette twice later in the series to advance.
“We've always kind of thought we were on their level. It's just believing and getting that big hit when you need it,” Harrelson said.
Jake Mills had the big hit Tuesday. His two-out, infield single gave Lafayette (11-4, 4-1) a 3-2 lead and capped a three-run fifth inning.
Oxford starter Jake Gibbs (3-1) had been solid up to that point. He plunked Matt Webb to open the frame and gave up an RBI single to Hunter Mize, who later scored on a wild pitch to tie the game 2-2. Kevin Parker later doubled, and he scored on Mills' hit.
Gibbs gave up four runs on six hits in six innings. Justin Woodall added a sharp RBI single in the sixth for the 'Dores, ranked No. 3 by the Daily Journal.
Parker, who started on the mound, improved to 5-0 with five-plus innings of work. He struck out six and yielded five hits before giving way to Woodall, who threw two innings of no-hit ball, striking out six of the seven batters he faced, to earn his first save.
“Coach Harrelson and I both knew this is the kind of game it was going to be,” first-year Oxford coach Bradley Roberson said. “It always is when these two teams play.”
Oxford (9-2, 1-1), No. 6 in the Journal poll, jumped ahead 2-0 in the third inning when Kory Petri dropped a single into left field to score Taylor McGraw and Ben Ruscoe.
The Chargers got runners on second and third to open the sixth inning, chasing Parker. But then Woodall came in and mowed down Matt Shaw, McGraw and Ruscoe.
Oxford, the defending 4A state champion, had a nine-game winning streak snapped.