By Doug Gorman
Henry County pitcher Jason Laird had his curveball biting and his fastball blazing Friday night, and that was bad news for Region 2-AAAAA rival Eagle's Landing as the No.-1 ranked Warhawks rolled to a 10-1 road victory.
Henry County improved to 17-1 overall and 9-1 in region action. Eagle's Landing dropped to 7-8 overall and 3-6 in league results.
Laird was a strikeout waiting to happen, especially early in the game, as the right-handed pitcher accounted for the Golden Eagles' first 10 outs via strikeouts.
Although Laird walked six and hit a batter through the first five innings, it appeared for a time that he would finish the game with a no-hitter.
Those hopes ended in the sixth inning when Michael Sanders ripped a single. One batter earlier, Brandon Johnston walked for the Golden Eagles.
Johnston then scored the lone run of the day for Eagle's Landing on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Tommy Griffiths.
Laird pitched into the sixth inning and allowed just one hit, while striking out 13 Eagle's Landing hitters. Eric Keller came into the game in relief in the seventh and recorded one strikeout.
"You always want to beat this team," said Laird. "I came up playing with a bunch of these guys, and our team just really stepped it up tonight."
Offensively the Warhawks scored four times in the sixth inning to break the game open and increase the lead to 10-0.
Jason Heyward's second RBI of the game scored Alan Hanson to start the sixth-inning scoring, but first baseman Michael Rozier delivered the big blow when he pulled a three-run homer down the first base line.
It was Rozier's first career home run at any level of baseball.
Henry County scored one run in the first and three in the second to build a 4-0 lead.
Singles by Heyward and Lindsey in the second proved to be the big blows for the Warhawks in the inning.
Henry County also added single runs in the third and fifth. Greg Huff drove in both those runs.
The win came after a hectic day for Henry County High School students as an explosion in one of the school's science labs sent several people to the hospital with minor injuries.
"I was really worried after all the activity at the school today, I was worn out and stressed out, but the kids did a great job of bouncing back," said Henry County head coach Chuck Campbell.
One of those sent for treatment was baseball player Scott Robinson, who was later released and in the dugout for Friday's game. He is expected to be ready to return to the lineup soon.
Henry County plays Monday against Stockbridge in another region game. Earlier this season, the Tigers handed the Warhawks their only loss of the year.
"We hope to play better than we did the last time against them," said Campbell. "We have won eight in a row since that loss, and we had won nine in a row before that."