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Relief: Lions Notch First Victory

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SOUTH PITTSBURG - Cannon County's most complete effort of the early season provided the Lions with a 7-6 win against Class A power South Pittsburg in the South Pittsburg Home Run Classic here Saturday.

Dalton Bell (1-0) retired six of the seven batters he faced in relief to earn the win after the Lions came from behind with two runs in the top of the sixth to earn the victory, which was the first of the season for the Lions (1-4).

Dustin Mears, Cody Lorance, Nathan McGuire and Nick Vasser all had run-producing hits, and Cody Phillips also had a clutch RBI to help propel Cannon County to the quality win against a South Pittsburg team that returned seven starters from last year's Class A state runner-up squad.

Cannon County put together a late-inning rally to earn the win. Mears opened the sixth with line drive back up the middle. Justin Weaver entered to pinch run for Mears. Weaver advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored when Lorance delivered a clutch opposite-field double to left center. Freshman Trent Bragg came on to run for Lorance and advanced to third on a Vasser groundout. With two outs, Bragg raced home on a wild pitch to score what proved to be the winning run.

Senior righty Brock Francis earned the start and pitched four innings of five-hit baseball before turning the game, and a 5-2 lead, over to the bullpen. He set the tone with strong work early and settled in well after surrending three of the five hits he allowed in the first inning.

The Lions erased a 1-0 deficit with a three-run third, highlighted by McGuire, Vasser, Gunter and Bell reaching in succession to open the frame. Three of the four runs scored. Cannon County extended the lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the fourth when Lorance walked and moved to second on McGuire's single. Vasser sacrificed both runners and Gunter followed with a RBI. Phillips drove in a run later in the inning to push the lead to 5-2.

South Pittsburg rallied with four in the bottom of the fourth to take a 6-5 lead. After a scoreless fifth, Cannon County came off the deck with two in the top of the sixth. Bell, making his first appearance of the seson, shut the Pirates down in the fifth and kept the Lions in the game.

The Pirates got the tying run to third in the sixth but Bell battled and got lead-off hitter Matt Allen to fly out to right fielder Brent Duggin to end the game.

Community 10
Cannon Co. 0
Cannon County got off to a bad start and never recovered in a loss to Community. The Lions surrendered seven runs in the first inning. It was an inning which they were guilty of seven errors.

Senior righty C.W. Alexander was a bright spot on the mound. He pitched three innings of one-hit relief and allowed one unearned run. Eight of Community's 10 runs were unearned.

Dalton Bell was 2-for-3 for the Lions.

Cannon County opens District 8-AA play in a doubleheader at York Monday. First pitch for game one is 3 p.m.
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March 18, 2012 at 3:49am
Congratulations Lions and to Coach Tony Stinnett for his first victory as a high school baseball coach.
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