Jackets end skid with win over NY team

Apr. 2—Lee County baseball snapped out of a two-week funk Saturday afternoon, scoring a victory over an out-of-state visitor during a showcase event at Freedom Christian School in Fayetteville.

The Yellow Jackets had lost five games in a row following a blazing 7-0 start to the 2024 season, in which they had at one time been the top-ranked 3A East team in the state according to MaxPreps. There was nothing to be ashamed of in losing to the teams that beat the Jackets, but Lee was seriously in need of breaking the schneid on Saturday's road trip.

Visiting Dunkirk High School of New York jumped on Jacket starter Andrew Stanfield for two quick hits and a run out of the gate, but Lee got the run back and then another in the bottom half of the inning. From there, the Jackets cruised to a 6-2 win.

Dunkirk, which was opening its season with a road trip to the south, went 15-5 a year ago and reached the third round of the New York state playoffs. The Marauders, like most New York high school teams, typically don't begin the season until mid-April due to cold weather, but the trip south allowed the team to start early. Dunkirk was slated to face Jack Britt and North Moore on Monday and Tuesday before going home.

After falling behind 1-0, Lee responded quickly. Luke Sheets led off the Jackets' half of the inning with a double. With one out, he scored when the Dunkirk right fielder misplayed a fly ball hit by Walker McDuffie, allowing him to reach. Stanfield helped himself with a bunt single as McDuffie raced into third base, and moments later, the two executed a double steal that put the Jackets in front.

Stanfield settled in after the rough first inning, where he'd had to strike his way out of a jam with two and and two out. He had a 1-2-3 second with two strikeouts, then fanned two more while working around a walk and hit batsman in the third.

In the bottom half of the third, the Jackets took full control. BJ Brown doubled leading off, McDuffie reached on a passed-ball strikeout, and then Stanfield singled to make it 3-1. An Austin Ragan sacrifice fly put another run on the board, and then Blake Carlyle's RBI double extended the lead to 5-1.

In the fourth, Sheets walked, moved to third on a Brown double, and scored on McDuffie's sacrifice fly.

Stanfield gave way to Sheets on the mound in the fifth. He allowed an unearned run in that inning but had a clean sheet the rest of the contest. Stanfield had seven strikeouts and one earned run allowed in four innings to claim the win, while Sheets struck out four in three innings to earn a save.

Lee outhit the Marauders 9-6. Brown and Stanfield had two hits each, while Sheets and McDuffie each scored twice.

The Yellow Jackets faced North Moore in a late Monday night contest and will play Jack Britt tonight at 1 p.m.