Wildcats help Hucks join 300-win club

ainelson@thestate.comApril 9, 2013 

— Top-ranked Lexington held off several late charges to beat South Aiken, 3-2, on Tuesday night, earning Wildcats coach Brian Hucks his 300th career victory.

The 15-year veteran coach owns a career record of 300-112. He posted a 258-105 record in 12 years at Brookland-Cayce before joining the Wildcats.

“This has been a special group, and to do it with them means a lot,” Hucks said.

Lexington (14-3, 7-0 Region 5-4A) led 3-1 heading into the sixth inning, when South Aiken loaded the bases. But Hucks was confident that his team, led by closer Elliott Lance, would shut it down.

Lance pitched out of the jam, but the Wildcats allowed a run in the seventh. No. 8 South Aiken (12-8, 5-3) loaded the bases again before the Wildcats’ defense could put away the inning and the game.

“South Aiken is always a tough team, and we knew we just had to keep battling,” starting pitcher Josh Reagan said. “The later the game went on, we knew we just had to win it. And I knew we’d pull it out.”

The Wildcats had played strong from the beginning, taking a one-run lead after a two-hit first inning. Ryan Brown led off with a single and advanced on a sac bunt from Dalton Addy. Nick Ciuffo then doubled into the left field gap, and Zach Paquette drove in Brown.

South Aiken tied the game in the second with an RBI single from Javier Peralta. The game remained tied until the bottom of the fourth, when Cole McMillan led with a double to deep center, and Cameron Matthews brought him home on a single.

Brandon Camp followed with a single to center and later scored on a wild pitch. With the bases loaded for Lexington, South Aiken turned a double-play to close the frame.

Hucks had hoped to avoid pressuring his team on account of his milestone, but the players were telling him last week they would win the game for him.

“It became unavoidable, so we just dealt with it head on. I hate to do that to the guys, to put that pressure on them, but it worked out, and it means a lot that they put a little extra on it for me,” Hucks said.

“This is momentous for me, but, hopefully, I think, we’ve got bigger games to win,” he said.

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