Coaching up a Golden Bear

Lincoln head coach Jeff Lumpkin talks to a player during the first game of a Class 4A playoff series against Cherokee County.

LINCOLN -- Missed opportunities proved costly for Lincoln High School’s baseball team Saturday in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.  

The Golden Bears fell to Cherokee County 11-4 in the first game and they dropped the second game of the best-of-three series 8-6.

Lincoln led 4-2 in the seventh inning of the first game, but Cherokee County rallied to score nine runs.

“We had opportunities in both games,” Lincoln head coach Jeff Lumpkin said. “We were two outs away in the first game, but their best player kind of got things started for them with a bloop hit, and things snowballed from there.

“We weren’t able to handle the bunt game, and that cost us in the seventh. We were kind of deflated, and they capitalized.

“That’s a heck of a ball team over there. The (Ethan) Johnson kid is a heck of a pitcher; he is one of the best that we have seen for sure. Our kids battled and played hard. “

Dawson Jackson was the losing pitcher for Lincoln. Jackson recorded nine strikeouts while allowing nine hits, five walks and three earned runs. Jackson recorded two RBIs.

Ethan Johnson earned the win. Johnson allowed six hits and three earned runs while striking out seven. Johnson also went 5-for-5 with four RBIs.

In the second game, Lincoln led 4-3, but Cherokee County scored five runs in the second to take control.

Connor Wilson put the Warriors ahead with a two-run single to give them a 5-4 lead. Bailey Rollins and Dalton Rollins recorded RBI singles to make it 7-4.

Tristan Whitefield’s sacrifice fly increased the margin to 8-4.

The Golden Bears had two opportunities to get back into the game, but they failed to get the timely hit they needed.

In the fourth, Lincoln had the bases loaded, but Tre Scott hit a ground ball to the first baseman to end the inning. In the sixth, Lincoln had the bases loaded with one out, but a strikeout and a fly ball to shortstop to end the inning.

“After a deflating loss, it is easy to roll over,” Lumpkin said. “We came back and got some runs early, but we had a stretch where we left the bases loaded twice. We missed opportunities, and that sums up the day for us.”

The Golden Bears scored twice in the seventh to cut the lead to 8-6.

Connor Wilson was the winning pitcher. Jordan New took the loss.

Lincoln finished 12-12.