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Varsity Rams Holdoff Lumberton!

April 5, 2011
Purnell Swett High School

LUMBERTON - Sometimes the hardest outs to get are the last three.

Purnell Swett starter Phillip Locklear limited Lumberton to two hits through the first six innings as the Rams built a four-run lead. Locklear had 10 strikeouts before running into trouble in the final inning as he allowed three straight hits to open the frame before being relieved by Jordan Brooks.

Initially Brooks was of little relief allowing back-to-back run-scoring singles to Jonathan Corbett and Thomas Williams as Lumberton tried to rally in its final at-bats. Brooks then settled down getting two ground ball outs, allowing one more run, before striking out the final batter as the Rams held on for a 5-4 Southeastern Conference victory over their in-county rival.

It was the first conference win in five contests for Purnell Swett and snapped a five-game losing streak. The Rams are now 4-8, while the Pirates fall to 4-6 overall and 2-3 in league play.

"Phillip filled up the strike zone tonight," Purnell Swett coach Kelly Chavis said. "He gave us a chance to win. He had five walks, but it's an improvement from where we've been. He gave us a chance and that's all I ask."

Locklear credited his teammates for giving him a four-run cushion in the first inning which allowed him to relax on he mound.

"We jumped on them early and I knew I had to do my part," Locklear said. "I had to throw strikes and my teammates really talked me up. It's a big win for us against our rival...I'm speechless."

Brooks was happy he was able to save the day for Locklear and pick up a victory against their rivals.

"They got a few good hits off him," Brooks said. "I was able to come in and get them out. Plus it's great to get the first win over them. Both teams played their heart out, but we were confident."

Lumberton coach Paul Hodges wasn't surprised to see the Rams play one of their better games all season because of the rivalry between the two schools but he was not pleased with how his team reacted.

"We had no enthusiasm until the last inning," Hodges said. "After a great game against Richmond we came out flat against Scotland and Swett. I always say they their best game of the year against us. I give credit to Kelly for having his kids come out ready to play."

Purnell Swett is slated to face Hoke at 7 p.m. today, while Lumberton will travel to Jack Britt at 5:30 p.m.

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