Lott comes up big in Hattiesburg's win over Picayune TuesdayBy ANDREW ABADIE,
HATTIESBURG – Facing a 5-4 deficit in the seventh inning, sophomore Cam Lott shifted momentum for the Hattiesburg Tigers with a critical defensive play to help earn a 6-5 win over Picayune Tuesday night.
With two outs and runners on the corners for Picayune, the Maroon Tide looked to add some cushion to their lead and seal a win after chipping away at Hattiesburg’s 4-1 lead.
However, Lott made a critical tag at home plate, preventing the Picayune base runner from stealing home to end the inning. Lott explained that it was a designed play that kept the runner from scoring.
“It was a first-and-third call,” Lott said. “That’s where the shortstop cuts in and I throw it to him like we’re throwing to second. We got the chance with a runner on third and he breaks. We saw that he did that and got the play to come back to home and placed the tag. It worked out perfectly.”
From Hattiesburg coach Joe Hartfield’s perspective, he wasn’t sure if Lott applied the tag quick enough.
“They had their fastest guy at third base at the time, so they were going to be really aggressive,” Hartfield said. “I really thought the call could’ve gone either way. It was a bang-bang play. [Walt Thomas] made a tremendous throw and Cam Lott made a tremendous tag. The call could’ve gone either way. Fortunately, it went our way.”
Picayune capitalized off its pitcher Luke Smith, who kept the Tigers in check despite giving up four runs in the first inning. Smith struck out nine batters, and at one point, retired 11 batters in a row.
“He had a changeup that was definitely moving away that looked like a slider,” Hartfield said. “Whatever it was, it was an off-speed pitch and it moved late. Our guys just kept chasing it and chasing it, and he seemed to know exactly what he was doing. He knew when to throw it across the plate and he knew when to throw it outside. He had our guys figured out for a long, long time tonight.”
At the same time, Picayune’s offense took advantage of bases-loaded opportunities in the fourth and fifth innings that gave the Tide three runs to take the lead.
However, Lott’s heroics were not finished in the seventh inning. With a runner at third base and two outs for Hattiesburg in the bottom of the seventh, Lott came through in the situation with a game-tying RBI single.
“I was really just trying to put the ball in play because I was nervous, but I knew I had to do something to try and help the team out,” Lott said.
“He’s been our best hitter and we couldn’t have asked for better timing to have him in the batter’s box,” Hartfield said. “He got down in the count, but he was able to be patient and wait for a pitch he could work with.”
Lott’s seventh-inning RBI single setup Jamaal Donaldson’s eventual game-winning RBI single in the eighth inning.
Lott, who is now hitting better than .600 on the season and finished the game 2-for-3, said the game was a confidence booster for the team.
“This is going to boost us up,” Lott said. “Because now we see that if we put our effort into it and we don’t get down and keep our attitude good, we can accomplish anything.”
Hattiesburg improves to 7-5 overall and 1-1 in region play. The Tigers will travel to play Picayune again (6-6, 1-2) on Friday.