Lawes McCool pitched a gem of a game, but he got little help from his defense.

The Pillow Academy Mustangs committed five errors behind the right-handed sophomore, leading to four unearned runs for Hartfield Academy. That was the difference in the game as the Hawks won 5-2 Thursday in Brandon in a first-round State AAAA Division II playoff series.

Hartfield took the best-of-three affair, 2-0.  PA also lost the first game in tough fashion, falling 6-5 in eight innings on Tuesday.

McCool went the distance, allowing five runs on just three hits while fanning two and walking four.

PA outhit Hartfield 8-3. McCool had a double, and Sam Harris and Nolan Marshall each ripped a pair of singles.

Gavin Lessley and Jacob Bush also had hits.

The Mustangs, the No. 3 seed from the North, led 2-1 after two innings before the Hawks tied it at 2 in the bottom of the fourth.

PA scored a run in the top of the first and second innings. In the first, Eli Simmons reached base on a two-out infield error, bringing home Lessley. In the second, Marshall had a single that scored Cody Holmes, who had reached base earlier on another infield error.

The Hawks scored three runs in the sixth to break up the tie. And to make matters more painful for PA, they did so with two outs.

A hit-by-pitch started things in the sixth. Then the Mustangs (11-9-1)  recorded the first out on a fielder’s choice. That was followed by a single to put two runners on. McCool then answered with a punch-out before an error opened the door for the Hawks.

In the top of the seventh, McCool gave his team life with a lead-off double to left field. But he never made it past that bag as Hartfield ended the game with a flyout, a pop-out in foul territory and a  groundout to the shortstop.      

Hartfield (21-10), the No. 2 seed from the South, advances to face the winner of the Magnolia Heights-Copiah contest next week in the state semifinals.

That too will be a best-of-three series.

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