Laurel blanks Suitland in baseball playoff game

Laurel pitcher Tre Fortson did just fine on his own but also got a lot of help from his teammates in a 19-0 victory over Suitland Friday in a Class 4A South Region first-round baseball game.

Fortson, a senior right-hander, two-hit the Rams and struck out a season-high nine batters in a game shorted to five innings because of the 10-run slaughter rule.

The game was moved to Laurel because of poor field conditions at Suitland.

“He pitched with confidence,” Laurel coach Don Cleveland said.  “It’s something he usually doesn’t do. He is usually looking for reasons why he isn’t doing well. Today, he was focusing on what he was supposed to be doing correctly.”

Laurel (10-7-1) has owned Suitland this season, beating the Rams for the third time.

The Spartans’ best all-around performance in the series came Friday with team playing errorless defense, and pounding Suitland pitchers Steven Williams and Rashid Nero for 10 hits.

Shortstop Tiamiem Sauage drove in four runs and had four hits. He hit a two-run homer over the left-field fence in the fourth inning and run-scoring double in the third.

Jarvis McClam (2-for-5, RBI) and Fortson (scored three runs) also contributed offensively.

Laurel sent 12 batters to the plate in the second inning and scored eight runs.

Suitland coach Michael Burroughs, whose team committed six errors, yanked Williams, the starting pitcher, in that inning after he walked three batters, hit another and gave up a single.

His replacement, Nero, didn’t fare much better, balking in a run, walking two and yielding a single.

Sauage had a two-run single in the inning and Lorenzo Young contributed an RBI single.

“It looked like they got the life sucked out of them in the second inning,” said Cleveland, whose team also beat Suitland, 22-13, and 13-9. “They walked a few guys and we took advantage of it. We were patient, got the bases loaded a couple of times and started to hit the ball.”    

The Spartans scored five more runs in the third to further bury the Rams.

Now, they now move onto play host Flowers in a quarterfinal playoff game Monday.

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