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Panthers use timely hits for wins over Central-Clay Co.

Timely hitting lifted Jemison to a series win Monday over Central-Clay County in the first round of the Class 5A state baseball playoffs.

The Panthers (25-8) won 7-6 and 3-0 in the first two games of the best-of-three series.

JHS plated the seven runs in Game 1 on six hits.

Shutout performance: Jemison’s Clay Cunningham pitched a complete-game shutout Monday against Central-Clay County in the second game of the best-of-three first-round playoff series. Below: Cody Thompson catches a pop fly.

Shutout performance: Jemison’s Clay Cunningham pitched a complete-game shutout Monday against Central-Clay County in the second game of the best-of-three first-round playoff series. Below: Cody Thompson catches a pop fly.

Will Lenoir doubled to clear what had been loaded bases in the second inning, and Trea Sanders drove in two more runs with a double, giving host Jemison a 5-1 lead.

Lenoir finished 2-for-3 at the plate.

Sanders, the catcher, threw out the only two baserunners who tried to steal in the game.

Then, in the fourth inning, brother Phillip Lenoir’s single drove in the tying and go-ahead runs.

Phillip Lenoir was also 2-for-3 at the plate.

Hunter Hood finished the game 1-for-2 with two runs scored.

Banks Woodley was the winning pitcher in the game, striking out five batters while allowing six runs on eight hits and two walks.

Woodley now has an 8-1 record on the season with an 0.94 earned run average.

Clay Cunningham turned in a dominant pitching performance in Game 2, tossing a complete game shutout, striking out eight while walking none and limiting the visitors to four hits.

Cunningham’s record improved to 7-2 on the year, and he has an 0.52 ERA.

Cody Thompson drove in two runs (in the form of Phillip Lenoir and Gabe Hayes) with a single in the first inning, and Jemison’s other run came on a Matthew Ramsey single to score Will Johns (who was a speed-up runner for Sanders) in the second inning.

JHS coach Jason Easterling said the Panthers were a little rusty, with the games having been postponed from Friday because of the effect recent rains have had on the field, and had to overcome some fielding errors.

“We didn’t get a lot of hits, but all of them were timely,” Easterling said.

Jemison will host Helena in the second playoff round. The first two games are scheduled for 5 and 7 p.m. Friday, with a third game to begin at 3 p.m. Saturday if necessary.

The top three hitters for the Panthers this season are Phillip Lenoir (.487), Hunter Hood (.429) and Will Lenoir (.421).