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Raiders down Trojans in opening round, to play at Greenwood Wednesday

Laurens outfielder Mason Hamby slides safely into second base Monday night against Northwestern.

Hunter Nabors just needed to switch things up.

The Laurens District High second baseman, a switch-hitter at other levels of baseball, hit from the left side of the plate for the first time all season and hit a three-run home run in fourth inning to spark the Raiders in a 6-2 opening-round Class 4A playoff victory over visiting Northwestern Monday night.

It was Nabors’ first homer of the season, and it came at an opportune time for the Raiders, who had squandered scoring chances after getting the lead-off runner on base in two of the first three innings.

“He had been struggling right handed, and he got in the (batting) cage this past weekend and said ‘I’m gonna try and hit left-handed,’” said LDHS head coach Tori Patterson. “And he goes out there and hits a home run.”

Nabors, who went 1-for-3 at the plate with a walk and the home run, said he was sitting on fastball and got it when he drove the ball over the right-field fence.

“We’ve all got to hit. We’ve all got to make the plays, esecially the routine ones,” Nabors said. “We’ve got to come out and play Raider baseball.”

Senior outfielder Mason Hamby, who has hit safely in 10 straight games and is batting .400 over his last 12, went 3-for-3 with a run scored and two stolen bases, stealing second and third on the same play. Catcher Bennett Edwards went 2-for-3 and turned a misplayed pop fly into a RBI triple in the fifth.

LDHS starter Josh Hughes pitched a three-hit gem, walking four and striking out two in the win.

Hughes’ only costly mistake came in the fifth when Trojans catcher Andrew Sands hit a two-run home run to straightaway center field. Sands collected two of Northwestern’s three hits, going 2-for-2.

The Raiders (15-9-1) are to face Greenwood on Wednesday. The Eagles defeated Midland Valley, a surprise entry into the playoff field after Airport was disqualified due to an ineligible player, 10-2 on Tuesday.

Greenwood beat

LDHS 15-5 on April 25, and Patterson said he fully expected to see the Raiders’ old rivals from across the lake again.

“If we’re going to win a championship we’ve got to go through (Greenwood),” he said. “They’re legit this year. . . . We know their kids, and they know our kids. There are no secrets, so it’s just about going out and who wants to compete.”

Notes: LDHS honored its four seniors prior to Monday’s playoff game, recognizing Mason Hamby, Jackson Martin, Jaedon Goodwin and Jack Yarbrough in a pregame ceremony. Senior Night had been scheduled for last week’s home finale, which was rained out.

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