By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.—North Laurel drew a tough first-round opponent in the Hanahan Invitational. Wando (S.C.) won the game 9-6, but not without a battle.
“It was good effort against a good team. That’s all you can ask for. They battled their tails off. That’s very encouraging,” North Laurel coach Darren McWhorter said.
Wando is the largest school in South Carolina with over 4,000 students. The Warriors have players that have signed with South Carolina and Georgia.
“Everything they hit, I thought was going to kill somebody,” McWhorter said. “Position by position those guys were good, strong arms everywhere, and the pitchers threw very well.”
Marcus Carson led off the game with a single and stole second. The threat ended quickly with Wando striking out the next six hitters.
“Once we came through the lineup we started putting it in play and getting more aggressive at the plate. Their pitchers was throwing mid to upper 80s and locating it right at the knees,” McWhorter said.
Carson and Byron Rice each stroked a pair of hits. Ethan Maxey put the Jaguars ahead early with a two-run triple.
“Maxey hit one that would have been out of any field we will play on except this field. It was 380 in center,” McWhorter said.
Logan Mallory pitched the first three innings for the Jaguars with relief help from Zach Hurley and Rice.
“We got beat 9-6 and had the lead late. We had guys on if we could have gotten a hit we would have had them on the ropes,” McWhorter said.
North Laurel continued pool play against Bishop Irenton (Va.) Tuesday. They will play four games in the tournament before returning home.
This is the 44th year of the Hannah Invitational Tournament, which hosts 32 teams from across the country. Wando has won the tournament four of the past eight years.