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Interstate Paper defeats Lions Club by 3 (8-5)
Interstate Paper’s Stephen Felton, wearing red helmet, makes his way to home after a 2-run homer in the 8-5 victory over the Lions Club Wednesday afternoon at Troop Park. - photo by By Patty Leon / Coastal Courier
The LCRD is wrapping up the regular season baseball and softball. Playoffs start this weekend.
In Wednesday’s mite league baseball game Interstate Paper was fighting for a spot at the post season as they took on the Hinesville Lions Club.
Interstate Paper jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. But the Lions Club came out slugging as well and took a one run lead.
In the second, Interstate had two runners thrown out at first and the third was struck out to give the Lions an opportunity to extend their lead.
But Interstate shut down the Lions with their own three-and-out and looked to to take the lead.
Interstate’s first batter hit a double. The second hit a triple. And the third man up slugged a homer to give Interstate a two-point lead before closing the top of the third inning 6-4.
The Lions returns the favor with a homer making it 6-5. The Lions then got a man on first. The next batter hit one toward second base. After a quick bounce the second baseman fielded and converted a double play.
The Lions held strong defensively, not allowing Interstate to score in the top of the fourth. And Interstate held the Lions in check as well.  
Interstate slugged out a two-run homer for the 8-5 lead in the top of the fifth. With their last opportunity to score, the Lions were shut down and Interstate took the 8-5 victory, earning the trip to the post season, starting Saturday.
“We have not won a game this year,” Harry Middleton, Lions Club coach, said after congratulating his team’s effort to stay in the game. “But we are not here to just instill winning in the guys. We are here to instill sportsmanship, the fundamentals and try and have some fun. As they get a little older then we focus on the competitiveness.”
Middleton said it was about coming together as a team during these formative years.
“If we lose a game we lose as a team not as an individual,” he said. “And when we win, it’s as a team.”
Coaching the group for at least the last five years, Middleton said he does see growth among his players.
“When they were younger they were just out and running around and having fun,” he said. “This year they seem more competitive and structured.
“First of all they must have discipline and a love for the game,” Interstate coach Lenton Felton said when asked what he wanted to instill in his players. “If you don’t love the game you are not going to be disciplined enough to play it.”
Felton said it was the players’ ability to listen to their coaches and follow instructions that helped propel them to the level of play they are at now.
“I’ve seen a lot of growth,” he said. “I’ve seen them mature in the last few months.”
With the victory, Interstate claimed the sixth seed spot for the playoffs and the coach said they are ready to play to the end.
“We are going to do our best and let everybody know that we are here and we are for real,” he said.
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