North Laurel’s Will Hellard celebrated after scoring a run during the Jaguars’ 12-9 win over Madison Central on Thursday. | Photo by Darrin Spencer

LONDON — In what was perhaps their best performance of the season, the North Laurel Jaguars knocked off the Madison Central Indians in a 13-9 win on Thursday night.

It was the kind of win that the Jaguars needed as they wrap up the regular season and head into the district tournaments. Entering the game, North Laurel had lost seven of their past eight games and looked to be on a downhill slide. But, defeating the No. 8 ranked teams in the state is a good way to end a slump.

Coach Darren McWhorter said his team needed a win at this time of the season.

“We finally put a complete game together against a very good Madison Central team,” said McWhorter. “They are ranked No. 8 in the state, so we had to play a complete game to get a win.”

The Indians took an early 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning, but the Jaguars responded with six runs in the bottom of the inning to go up 6-3. They extended their lead to 7-3 after the third inning.

Madison Central went on to score two runs in the top of the fourth and fifth innings to tie the game at 7-7 and then took an 8-7 lead in the top of the sixth.

The Jaguars’ offense exploded for six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to reclaim the lead, going up 13-8. The Indians scored their final run of the game in the top of the seventh, as North Laurel held on for the win.

McWhorter said solid pitching and some well-timed hits propelled them to the win.

“Nathan Sanders and Austin Smith pitched and threw well, but the difference was getting timely hits and driving in runs. We really needed this win going into tournament time.”

Sanders started on the mound and pitched four and one-third innings. He was relieved in the fifth inning by Smith who went on to claim the win for the Jaguars, allowing three hits and two runs in two and two-thirds innings pitched.

The Jaguars had 12 hits on the night. Seth McClure led the way with three hits and four runs batted in. Blake Vanhook had three hits and drove in two runs, while Kyler Ezra had two hits and drove in two runs. Smith, Eli Sizemore, Caden Harris, and Will Hellard each had one hit. Smith, Sizemore, and Hellard drove in one run each.

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