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Mar 13 2014

Panther Baseball Cages Cardinal Newman

Panthers (JV) 17               Cardinal Newman 4

This was to be a home game for Cardinal Newman, but they were having field issues so the game was played at Bray Park but Cardinal Newman was the home team.  Both teams scored two in the opening frame with the Panthers taking advantage of two Cardinal errors and actually scored both of their runs without the benefit of a hit.  The Panthers exploded for five more runs in the top of the second inning.  The runs scored on three hits with Carson Floyd knocking in one run.  The Cardinals scored two of their own in the bottom of the second to make the score 7-4 but that was all the Cardinals would score on the night.  The Panthers added on in the third; five more runs in the fourth inning; and four more runs in the fifth.  In the fourth, Cal Hucks pounded a triple and Cole Plyler had an RBI double.  In the fifth, Nick Beach slammed a two RBI double.  For the game, Carson Floyd and Cole Plyler led the way with two hits.  Six other Panther batters had one hit a piece.  John Edens was the starting pitcher for the Cardinals.  He went three innings giving up four earned runs and six hits.  He walked none and struck out three in earning the victory.  Carson Floyd pitched the final two innings giving up no hits or runs.  He walked one and struck out two.  The Panthers JV squad is now 3-1 on the season.

Panthers (V) 9                   Cardinal Newman 8

In the exact same score that the Panthers beat Cardinal Newman at Bray Park in 2013, the Panthers once again prevailed against Cardinal Newman in 2014 by a score of 9-8.  Just like last year, the Panthers jumped out to a commanding lead; watched as the Cardinals staged a furious comeback; and then righted the ship in time to score late to secure the victory.  However, the ending this time was a lot more controversial.  After a quick out to start the Panther first inning, Caleb Wilson, Alex Blevins and Sean West received back to back to back walks.  Clay Dickinson hit a single to plate the first run.  Alex scored on a passed ball and James Reed singled to score Clay from third for the last run of the inning.  After a one, two, three bottom of the first, the Panthers came back up looking for more and they found it.  Caleb Wilson started things off again with another walk.  Alex hit a double scoring Caleb all the way from first.  After making his way to third, Alex scored on a sacrifice fly by Clay Dickinson.  The Cardinals threatened in the bottom of the second but left the bases full when James Reed made a highlight worthy defensive play at first base to get the last out.  In the top of the third inning, the Panthers continued their scoring ways by plating three more runs.  James Reed led off the inning with a walk and Pat Brunson scored James from second with a double down the left field line.  After the second out of the inning, Anderson Blevins singled sending Pat to third.  Caleb Wilson executed a beautiful squeeze bunt scoring Pat from third and on the play Anderson advanced all the way to third base.  This allowed him to score when the Cardinals committed an error on the next play letting Alex reach first safely.  At this point, the Panthers led 8-0 and it looked like it was going to be an easy night.  Alas, it was not to be.  The Cardinals began their comeback in the bottom of the second inning.  The Cardinals scored two runs taking advantage of two walks, two Panther errors and one hit to score their runs.  It was in the bottom of the fourth when the Panthers really let the Cardinals out of the cage.  In that inning, the Cardinals scored six runs only two of which were earned.  The Cardinals pounded out three hits including two doubles and the Panthers, feeling generous that inning, decided to kick in one hit batter, two errors and to let one Cardinal batter reach first base on a passed ball third strike.  This knotted the score at eight.  Both teams had a scoreless fifth inning.  In the sixth, Clay reached base on an error by the Cardinal first baseman.  Jake Brunson bunted to send Clay to second but the Cardinals did not cover third on the play and Clay was able to advance all the way to third.  James Reed then grounded out to the second baseman scoring Clay on a close play at the plate.  The Cardinals got their lead-off man aboard in the bottom of the sixth only to see him picked off on a dart from Sean West, the Panthers catcher, to James at first base.  The Cardinals did not get anyone else on board in that inning.  In the top of the seventh, the Panthers threatened after Alex doubled to right center field, but he was stranded on third.  In the bottom of the seventh, things got really interesting.  Alex had pitched three innings and was beginning to tire.  He walked the first batter and then on the first pitch to the second Cardinal batter, he threw a pitch to the back stop.  The Cardinal runner on first advanced to second but took to large of a turn allowing the Panthers to get the ball behind him and in a rundown.  The Panthers executed well and got the out.  Alex then walked the second batter of the inning.  The coaching staff then pulled Alex and brought James Reed into pitch.  The first batter he faced sent a hard three hopper to the Panther second baseman.  The ball was coming in chest high in what should have been a routine play but just before the ball got to him, the ball glanced off the Cardinal runner attempting to advance to second.  The general rule is that when a runner is hit by a batted ball, that runner is out and the ball is ruled dead, meaning no runners may advance to another base.  In this case, however, the umpires made a controversial ruling.  They stated that the Cardinal runner who had been hit by the batted ball, prevented the Panthers from completing a likely double play and called both the runner and the batter out; resulting in a double play and thus ending the game.  The Panther coaches were surprised and confused at the ruling and the Cardinal coaches were maybe a little confused and definitely, very unhappy.  After much discussion, the umpires stated they were not going to reverse their call.  I’ve been scratching my head trying to come up with a life lesson for this that extends out of baseball.    I guess it is this.  Sometimes we get hit with something that we never saw coming.  Our measure as men (and ladies) can often be observed in how we react to those things.  A lot of times these things can confuse us and we are not sure what to say or do.  I know I certainly was not prepared to handle that situation and there are some things I might have done differently if presented with that same situation again.  We can, however, take solace in the fact that we serve a sovereign God who is never surprised or confused at what is happening around him.  If we truly believe that and completely trust in him, we can live more confident lives.  Now back to baseball.  Jake Brunson started on the mound for the Panthers.  He pitched two and two thirds innings giving up two unearned runs.  He allowed two hits and four walks while striking out four.  Caleb Wilson relieved Jake and pitched two thirds of an inning.  He allowed six runs, only two of which were earned.  He gave up three hits while striking out two.  Alex earned the win pitching three innings in relief.  He gave up no runs, two hits and struck out four.  He walked three.  James Reed got the save by pitching four pitches as he was on the mound when the controversial double play happened to end the game.  The Panther varsity team is now 3-0.