Baseball Takes to Hills to Defeat the Highlanders

Panthers – 7       Heathwood Hall – 6

The Panthers invaded Heathwood Hall on Thursday night and improved their record to 17-7 by besting the Highlanders by a score of 7-6. This was a night that the Panthers did not play their best, but managed to burst out to a lead and then held on for dear life.

Danny Waller staked the Panthers to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning when he blasted the second pitch he saw over the fence down the left field line. Parker Pocock and James Reed both scored on the home run.  Parker had reached base via a walk and James had singled earlier in the inning.  The Highlanders scored two of their own runs in the bottom of the first on the strength of three hits and one Panther error.

McKinley Proctor scored for the Panthers in the top of the second. He reached on a walk and then stole second base.  He advanced to third on a ground out and scored on a two out single by John Edens.

The Panthers added to their lead in the top of the third when they plated another three runs. Cal Hucks was hit by a pitch, stole second base and scored when Danny Waller singled.   Danny advanced to second when the Highlander left fielder misplayed Danny’s hit.  Matthew Derrick reached on an error by Heathwood’s shortstop with Danny scoring on the play.  McKinley reached on a fielder’s choice with two outs.  He stole second base for the second time in the game and scored on a single by Parker Pocock.  The Highlanders scored two of their own in the bottom of the third on a hit, a walk, a wild pitch and an error.  After three innings, the Panthers led 7-4.

Heathwood kept chipping away at PAC’s lead scoring single runs in the fourth and sixth inning to draw within one run. The Highlanders held the Panthers scoreless in the top of the seventh inning and came to bat needing one run to tie and two to win.  The first batter scorched a line drive back up the middle that the Panther pitcher (Will Lawyer) caught more, more out of self-defense than anything.  It was a great play by Will.  The next batter walked to put the tying run at first.  The third batter of the inning smacked a line drive into left field that McKinley Proctor made a nice running catch on for the second out of the inning.  The fourth batter hit a single to right center field that advanced the tying run to third.   Will went to a full count on the next batter before striking him out looking to end the game and allow the coaches, players and fans to exhale.

Danny Waller led the Panthers at the plate with three hits. He had two singles and the aforementioned homerun and had four RBI’s.  Parker Pocock had two singles and knocked in a run.  Others with hits included James Reed, John Edens and Matthew Derrick.  McKinley and Danny both scored two runs.  The Panthers had fifteen productive at bats during the game against their per game goal of fourteen.

James Reed (3-0) was the starting pitcher for PAC and earned the victory. He pitched four innings allowing five runs, three of which were earned.  He allowed five hits and four free passes while striking out four.  Will Lawyer followed James to the mound, pitching the final three innings to earn the save.  He gave up one earned run on four hits.  He struck out two Highlanders and gave free passes to two others.

As noted earlier, the win improves the Panthers record to 17-7. The team takes to the diamond again tonight as they host their final home game of 2017 versus the Upstate Eagles at 6:00 at Bray Park.  The Panthers will have a brief ceremony to honor the Seniors beginning at 5:30.  After the game, everyone will be invited down onto the field after the game to enjoy an ice cream sundae (while supplies last), enjoy beach music and congratulate the baseball Seniors.  Donations will be accepted and everyone is encouraged to wear their “loudest” beach shirts to the game.