Panther Baseball Loses Tournament Heartbreaker

Panthers (V) 1                   Faith Baptist 2

This one hurts. Faith Baptist scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning to defeat the Panthers and send the Panthers into the consolation game of their division on Friday afternoon. Trevor Dacus was the starting pitcher for PAC and danced in and out of trouble all game. He pitched well enough to win the game but a lack of offense ultimately proved his, and the team’s, undoing. Trevor lasted six innings allowing only two unearned runs on five hits. He walked six batters and struck out seven. The Panthers struck first scoring an unearned run in the bottom of the second inning. Clay Dickinson reached on an error. James Reed laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt, advancing Clay. The Faith third baseman charged on the bunt and did not hustle back to cover his base allowing Clay to take second and third on the play. Jake Brunson then hit a sacrifice fly to right field allowing Clay to score. Good defense behind Trevor allowed this game to remain close as the Panther bats were quiet. The defense turned one double play and Jake Brunson made a leaping dive to snag a line drive snuffing out another potential rally in the top of the sixth inning. In the bottom of the sixth, Alex Blevins hit a line drive down the third base line that made it all the way to the corner of the outfield allowing Alex to reach third safely. Clay Dickinson was the next Panther batter and with a one ball, two strike count on Clay, Alex attempted to steal home. He picked a great pitch as it was a curve ball down in the dirt that bounced away from the Faith Baptist catcher. The catcher scrambled for the ball and dove towards home trying to tag Alex. When the dust had cleared, the umpire called Alex out ending the Panther inning. Trevor trotted back out to the mound to start the seventh inning. The first Faith Baptist batter lined a single to left field. Trevor walked the next batter putting runners at first and second with no outs. The Panther coaches called for Alex to relieve Trevor and try to save the game. The third batter of the inning hit a hard grounder up the middle. Anderson Blevins made a diving stop; rolled over and made a short toss to Caleb Wilson at second but the runner beat the throw by a fraction of a second loading the bases. The next batter hit a hard grounder to first baseman Trevor Dacus. Trevor fielded the ball and threw home to force the runner on third for the first out of the inning. The Panther catcher, James Reed attempted to throw the batter out at first to complete the double play but his throw was in the dirt and bounced off of Anderson Blevins who was covering first. This allowed the runner that was on second when the play began to score tying the game and the runner on first to advance to third. On the next pitch, the runner on first headed for second drawing a throw. On the throw the runner at third broke for home. The Panthers cut the ball off before it reached second and tried to throw the runner out at home but the ball arrived too late and Faith Baptist took a 2-1 lead. The Panthers got out of the inning without any further damage but now their backs were really against the wall. They came to bat in the bottom of the last inning needing one run that they did not get as their batters were retired one, two, three. This was a well-played game that just did not go our way. The players, coaches and fans were devastated by the late turn of events and now must make sure they are mentally prepared to play again tomorrow. In the consolation game, PAC will, once again, face the Providence team from Johnson City, Tennessee. The game will be played at Rhea County High school at 2:30 on Friday afternoon. The Panther squad is now 17-7 on the season.