South Beauregard’s Nathan Lee delivers a pitch against the Yellow Jackets Tuesday in Iowa. Lee struck out seven in a four-hit shutout. (Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 10:01 AM
IOWA — Nathan Lee wanted the ball for South Beauregard’s big game at Iowa. He got it and delivered in a big way to lead the Golden Knights to a 3-0 win Tuesday in a District 4-3A opener.
Lee tossed a four-hit shutout, struck out seven and started a three-run rally in the top of the sixth inning with an opposite-field double.
The senior delivered in the big spots, leaving two Yellow Jackets on base in four different innings, including the seventh. All of his strikeouts came in the final four innings and four came with runners in scoring position.
South Beauregard (15-2, 1-0) coach Jeremy Deville said Lee is a leader.
“He got up there and competed,” Deville said. “He wanted the ball. He has been waiting for this for a long time. He is the man and took the ball and won it. Big games like this, Nathan Lee wants the ball. He is a four-year starter and one of the best players in the district. He pitched to contact a lot and trusted his defense, and they made some plays for him. He wants the ball in his hand; he is a competitor, that is why he’s good.”
In the sixth, Lee doubled to the right-center field gap to lead off the inning and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Josh Hunt. They extended the lead later in the inning when two runners scored on an error on a grounder by Hayden Gunter, who made a few nifty plays in the field at third base. Iowa made two errors in the sixth inning.
Iowa (11-6, 0-1) head coach Sean Richard said Lee turned in a game performance.
“He did a tremendous job,” Richard said. “He mixed in his breaking ball pretty well and spotted his fastball. He competed was the biggest thing.”
Iowa starter Justin Demary matched him for five innings.
“Justin stayed ahead in the count, just couldn’t put guys away with two strikes a couple of times,” Richard said. “The same thing (opening district with a loss) happened last year. We have to battle back, see how tough we are. It is a tough district. It is going to be tough to go undefeated in this district. You better come in and compete night in and night out in this district.”
Deville said he wants his team to play aggressively.
“They are playing to win, not playing not to lose,” he said. “In the first inning there was a ball in the dirt and we had a chance to get a runner into scoring position, but they didn’t move. That’s playing not to lose.
“Then we stepped up and got some timely hits. We’re better offensively than we were last year, we have more leadership and we are more comfortable. Last year, we were not comfortable in situations like this.”
Lee went 3-for-4 at the plate. Demary had two hits and reached base four times for Iowa.