Panthers (Varsity) – 6 Augusta Christian – 5
The undefeated Augusta Christian Lions came to Columbia hoping to extend their winning streak to eleven games, but the game Panthers rose to the challenge and handed the Lions their first loss in an exciting game at Bray Park on Monday night.
Hunter Erb got the Lions off to a great start by singling to begin the game. He promptly stole second base, advanced to third on a passed ball and then scored on a bunt single by Tripp Finley. The Panthers answered in the bottom of the second when Cal Hucks singled and scored on a single by Carson Floyd.
The Lions retook the lead in the top of the third when Connor Teske walked and stole second. He then scored on a single by Chris Hesse. The Panthers tied the game back up in the bottom of the fourth when Cal singled for his second hit of the game, stole second base and scored on a single by Eli Williams.
The Lions came right back in the top of the fifth to take the lead and seemingly win this hotly contested game. With two outs, Finley received a base on balls. He advanced to third on a single by Logan Depappa. Chris Hesse then sent a shot to centerfield that the Panther centerfielder charged aggressively to try and make a play at second; however, the ball scooted under his glove and rolled all the way to the fence in dead center field. While the Panthers were chasing the ball, all three Lion base runners scampered home.
The Panthers got two runs back in their half of the fifth. John Edens reached on an error by the Lion shortstop. Anderson Blevins then slammed a triple to deep right center field. As he motored into third, the throw from the center fielder got away from the shortstop and Anderson broke for home, sliding in safely just ahead of the throw. This made the score 4-5 Augusta Christian after five innings.
Neither team scored in the sixth inning and the Panthers managed to escape the top of the seventh inning without allowing the Lions to score. The Lions did get their lead-off batter on with a double but he was stranded at third when Matthew Derrick made a nice sliding catch in right field to end the Lion’s chances. The Panthers were now down to their last chance to tie or win the game, but fans of the program know that these Panthers never quit until the game is over so no one was heading for the exits early.
In the top of the seventh, Anderson reached on an infield error and Cole Plyler attempted to bunt him over but the Lion pitcher (Hesse) pounced on the bunt and threw a bullet to second to force Anderson. Cole advanced to second on a single by James Reed, and then to third when Parker Pocock reached on an error. Excitement was in the air and the dugout was very noisy as the bases were now crawling with Panthers and there was still only one out. Cal continued his good hitting in this game, driving a pitch to left field allowing Cole to tag and score on a sacrifice fly. The game was now tied but with two outs. Daniel Williams was next up to bat for the Panthers and he hit a grounder to the shortstop who came up with the ball cleanly and rose to throw Daniel out at first; however, his throw sailed on him a little and just eluded the first baseman’s glove just as Daniel was sliding into first base. On the play, James Reed was off and running and he scored to secure the Panther’s sixth straight victory.
The Panthers had eleven hits in their victory. Cal Hucks went three for three and scored twice and had a key RBI in the seventh inning. Carson Floyd and James Reed had two singles. Anderson had a single and a triple.
Daniel Williams was the starting pitcher for PAC. He pitched five innings allowing all five Lion runs, of which, only three were earned. He gave up seven hits and struck out four. James Reed (2-1) earned the victory pitching the final two innings. He allowed two hits but did not give up any runs. He struck out three.
Game Notes: The Panthers had six assists in the game and thirteen productive at bats (Cal had four of these). This was the Panthers sixth consecutive victory and the tired team will now take a break over Easter before resuming play against Orangeburg Prep in a varsity double header next Wednesday night in Orangeburg. The Panther Varsity team is now 12-3.