NACA Tournament (Division #2): Panthers – 5 Cincinnati Trailblazers – 3
The Panthers opened up play in the 2017 NACA (National Association of Christian Athletes) baseball tournament in Dayton, Tennessee against the Cincinnati Trailblazers (OH). Playing at Bledsoe County High School, the two teams took to the diamond at 9:30 on a bright, sunny morning.
A coin flip determined the home team and the Panthers were designated as the visiting team and got to hit first. After a quick out, Parker Pocock reached on an error by the Trailblazer second baseman. He advanced to second when James Reed drew a base on balls. Cal Hucks slammed a double to left field, plating both runners, giving the Panthers an early 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the frame, James Reed, the Panthers starting hurler, set the Trailblazers down in order, striking out two.
Both teams were scoreless in the second inning and the Panthers were blanked in the top of the third, but the Trailblazers tied the game in the bottom of that frame. The Trailblazers drew a walk with one out and then the Trailblazer shortstop, Bacon, hit a long home run to left field.
The Panthers responded immediately, plating two runs in the top of the fourth inning. Cal Hucks singled with one out. Danny Waller and Matthew Derrick hit back to back doubles. Cal scored on an error by the Trailblazer shortstop and Danny scored on Matthew’s double.
The Panthers scored an insurance run in the top of the fifth inning. Parker Pocock walked and stole second base. James Reed then hit a ball in the hole between third and short and the Trailblazer shortstop made a nice play on the ball but his throw sailed over the first baseman’s head, allowing Parker to round third and keep going, sliding in to home just ahead of the throw.
The Trailblazers scored a run in the bottom of the sixth inning to draw within two but the teams were playing by tournament rules which did not allow new innings to start after two hours so they game drew to a close after the Panthers secured the third out of the inning.
Six hits were collected by the Panthers during the game. Cal, Danny and Matthew had two hits each. Cal and Matthew both had a single and a double. Danny had two doubles.
James Reed (5-0) pitched five and two thirds innings. He allowed three runs, two earned, on two hits. He walked three batters and struck out ten. Will Lawyer finished the game on the mound drawing a 6-3 (shortstop to first) groundout to end the game.
The Panthers play again on Thursday morning against the Huntsville (AL) Falcons. The win improves the Panthers record to 21-8