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Baseball: Sims keys South to win over West, on the mound and at the plate
Template Graphic South

Landon Sims pounded his glove in celebration after the first strikeout, and after the third, which let the South Forsyth baseball team squeeze out of a two-on, none-out jam in the fourth inning against West on Tuesday, he shouted "let's go!"

It was about as loud and demonstrative as Sims can get, but he felt that the situation called for it.

"It's region play: All of it is high-intensity," Sims said. "You've got to play with a lot of intensity. We came out last Thursday and lacked a lot of intensity, and that was our biggest goal of today, is come out hot and play intense."

The senior Mississippi State commit's performance fit the stage on Tuesday, as Sims allowed three hits and struck out nine over five innings in South's 5-2 victory. He didn't draw a big crowd of scouts, but the ones that were present saw his fastball touch 96 and his hard downer breaking ball hit 82. 

It was certainly an encouraging performance for Sims, who has thrown well this season, but not as much as would be ideal. Tuesday's start was his first outing in more than two weeks, after one that was scheduled for the War Eagles' tournament in LaGrange was scrapped because Sims tweaked a hamstring. 

"(My arm)'s still not in perfect condition to go a whole seven right now," Sims said. "Probably within my next one or two starts I will be."

Sims' first three innings were only tainted by a single from Brock Imbornone, one where the Wolverines junior put a single into right on what was as much of a reach as a swing. He had the jam in the fourth and another in the fifth, in which a double from Matthew Strzelecki into the left-center gap drove Drew Southern and Wyatt Crowell home and made the score 3-2, but Sims worked out of both of those situations with strikeouts. 

"He's probably going to make a million dollars one day," Pruitt said of Sims. "So my hat's off to him. He's a competitor, and he knows when to amp it up when he needs to. We got a couple runners on that one inning, and he struck out the side after that. That's what guys like him do."

It was more than enough cushion for South's offense. The War Eagles got runs in the first and second, both in two-out situations, on Peyton Rawlins' RBI single and Chris Dougherty's squeeze. In the third, Tyler Cowan put a ball over the fence in right for a solo home run. 

And soon after Strzelecki's double narrowed South's lead, the War Eagles stretched it back out, with Sims hitting a solo home run and Josh Green scoring on a wild pitch in the seventh. 

"I still think we had a bigger window early in the game to get a few on the board, but we got our bunts down when we needed to, we jumped on them early, and defensively, we played clean," South head coach Russ Bayer said.

South improved to 6-4 and 1-1 in Region 5-7A with the win, while West fell to 5-5, 1-1.