OXFORD – A fast start for the Lafayette Commodores didn’t produce a strong finish on Friday night.
West Lauderdale (28-2), led by Ole Miss commit Will Stokes, broke a 3-3 tie in the fourth inning with five runs en route to a 9-4 win over the Commodores at W.V. Brewer Field. The win gave the Knights a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three MHSAA Class 4A quarterfinal series.
Stokes struggled in the first inning, giving up three runs on three hits and two errors committed by his team, but he re-gained his Division I form, limiting the Commodores (20-13) to just two walks the next five innings. Stokes finished the game with 12 strikeouts.
“We’re a better team than we showed tonight. They’re a quality club and their guy was pretty good,” Lafayette coach Patrick Robey said. “When you look at the scoreboard, you look at those two big innings, the five spot in the fourth. When you give up those crooked numbers and a big inning, it’s hard to overcome it.”
West Lauderdale took an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first against Lafayette starter Austin Arrington, but the Commodores answered with three runs in the bottom half, highlighted by a two-run single from Eli Murphree.
Knights rise up
The game remained tied until the Knights broke it open with five runs on four hits in the fourth. Catcher Blake Anderson had a run-scoring double in the frame, while Colton McKeithen and Stokes followed with RBI singles. The Knights also squeezed in a run on a bunt and then tacked on another run in the seventh using a bunt.
“We also had a leadoff walk in that inning and that is going to score about 90 percent of the time. It never fails,” Robey said. “Our guys competed and they’re a tough team. Our job now is to get the series back here.”
Game 2 is tonight in Collinsville at 7.