Panthers Stalk the Highlanders

Panthers (V) 6                   Heathwood Hall (3)

In an exciting game at Heathwood Hall, the Panthers clawed their way to a 6-4 victory Friday night against the Highlanders to improve to 6-1 on the season.  After a scoreless first, the Panthers attack netted three runs in the second.  The inning certainly started innocently enough as Sean West and Clay Dickinson both grounded out for two quick outs.  James Reed then reached on an error by the Highlander third baseman.  After Jake Brunson singled to left center field, his brother, Pat, then doubled driving in the first run of the inning and putting runners on second and third.  Jacob Cain then slapped the Panthers third straight hit scoring both Jake and Pat and giving the Panthers a 3-0 lead.  The Highlanders scratched for a single run in the bottom of the third.  Duffy Beal, the Highlander centerfielder, singled with one out.  Duffy advanced to second on a single by Nic Burch and scored on a single to left center by Matt Zielinski.  The Panthers were quiet in the top of the fourth inning and the Highlanders tied the game in the bottom of the frame by plating two runs.  A leadoff single by Will Detwiler was followed by an RBI double by Davis Bland.  Bland later scored on a single by Madison Walden.  The Panthers retook the lead in the top of the fifth.  Anderson Blevins lead off the inning with a single.  Caleb Wilson followed with a single to right field, and on the play, Anderson rounded second and headed for third.  Only a great throw could have prevented Anderson from getting to third and that is just what the Highlanders got, as a great throw by Nic Burch nailed Anderson at third.  Alex Blevins hit a grounder to second which was booted for an error advancing Caleb to second.  Sean West then singled to right center driving in the go ahead run.  After the Panthers held the Highlanders scoreless in the bottom of the fifth, the Panthers came into the top of the sixth winning by one run.  James Reed singled to start the inning.  The Panthers, playing for one run, asked Jake Brunson to lay down a sacrifice bunt.  Jake laid down a perfect bunt and was able to leg it out for an infield single.  Two batters later, Anderson came to the plate with two outs and James and Jake still at second and first, respectively.  Anderson sent a grounder up the middle for his fourth hit of the game.  The Highlander second baseman made a diving stop on the play but was not able to get a throw off and James scored.  Caleb Wilson singled to drive in the Panthers last run of the game, making the score 6-3.  In the bottom of the seventh, the first two Highlander hitters of the inning walked so the Panthers brought in Alex Blevins to close out the game.  He induced the first batter he faced to fly out to right field.  The second batter he faced flew out to center field.  Alex then got another fly ball, but uncharacteristically, the Panthers outfield let it fall to the ground for an error scoring a run for the Highlanders and putting the tying runs at second and third.  Duffy Beal had been a thorn in the side of the Panthers all night reaching base every time he had been to the plate and he now had the opportunity to tie the game.  He slapped a grounder up the middle which Caleb Wilson moved to his left on, scooped and made a perfect throw to first ending the game in the Panthers favor.   Five Panther batters had multiple hits led by Anderson Blevins with four.  Caleb Wilson, Sean West, James Reed and Jake Brunson all had two hits and Clay and Pat Brunson both doubled.  Caleb Wilson started the game on the mound for Providence.  He pitched three and two thirds innings giving up six hits and three earned runs.  Jake Brunson was the second Panther pitcher and he went two and one third innings.  He allowed a single unearned run on two hits and earned the win.  Alex pitched the seventh earning the save for the Panthers, allowing no hits or runs.