Panthers – 4 Upstate Eagles – 2
Senior Night was a success as the program was able to honor its Seniors and their families on the field prior to the game. Led by its Seniors, the Panthers then went out and defeated the Upstate Eagles 4-2 and, afterwards, everyone came down on the field to eat ice cream sundaes and listen to beach music.
This Senior night was the first annual “beach night”. Fans of the Panther baseball program were encouraged to wear beach shirts and more than one beach ball was being batted around the stands while the game was in progress. An impromptu game of volleyball also broke out in the outfield grass while everyone was enjoying their ice cream.
When the Panthers took the field for their warmups, they were all clad in beach shirts and it made quite a colorful scene. After warmups, the Panthers put on their jerseys and turned to the business at hand. A record nine Seniors were in the field for the Panthers as the game began with Danny Waller on the mound. Danny held the Eagles scoreless in the top of the first thanks to a nifty double play started by James Reed, who probably had his finest defensive game of the year. The Panthers were also held scoreless in the first inning as Clayton Lancaster allowed two base runners, but stranded them at second and third.
Both teams were scoreless in the second inning and the Eagles did not score in the top of the third. The bottom of that frame was when the Panthers finally broke through. John Edens led off with a single to left field and then stole second base. Parker Pocock drew a walk and both runners advanced one base on James Reed’s long fly ball that was caught at the left field fence for the first out of the inning. John had rounded third on the play and but had put on the brakes and was heading back to third when Parker came sliding in to the same base. Parker realized his error and jumped to his feet to head back to second. The Eagle catcher saw Parker heading back to second and threw that way to get him out. Seeing the throw to second, John broke for home. The Eagles let Parker reach second safely and threw home again to try and get John out. The reached home ahead of John but the catcher dropped the ball allowing John to slide in safely. Parker later scored on a wild pitch giving the Panthers a 2-0 lead after three.
The Panthers tacked on a single run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Will Lawyer led off with a double to deep right field. Austin Coates laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt to advance Will to third. Will scored when the pitcher did not come all the way set during his motion and the umpires called a balk scoring Will.
The Eagles clawed their way back into the game in the top of the fifth. Braden Lancaster led off with a single and he was sacrificed to second. A walk and another single loaded the bases for the Eagles. Ian Moore then singled to drive in two runs. The batter tried to advance to second on the play but he was gunned down ending any further Eagle scoring chances.
The Panthers added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Jacob Robinson drew a walk with two outs. He advanced to second on John’ second hit of the game and scored on Parker Pocock single. The Eagles fought to the end getting hits to put runners at first and second to begin the 7th inning, but three straight infield pop ups ended the game in the Panthers favor.
The Panthers banged out eight hits in the game. John Edens had three singles to lead the Panthers at the plate. Parker reached base all four times he was at the plate with three walks and one hit. Will Lawyer and Cal Hucks both doubled and James Reed and Austin Coates both singled. The Panthers had thirteen productive at bats in the game.
Danny Waller was the starting hurler for PAC. He pitched five innings allowing two earned runs on six hits. He only struck out one batter while walking two. Will Lawyer relieved Danny, pitching the final two innings. He allowed two hits and walked one in earning the save.
As previously stated, the win improves the Panthers record to 18-7. This was the last home game for the Panthers during the 2017 season. The Panthers close out the regular season against Ben Lippen on Thursday. They then will practice until they take to the diamond in the 2017 state homeschool championships on May 5th.