Saturday, April 28th, marked the state baseball championships for the South Carolina Home School Athletic Association. This was the fourth year of the state home school baseball championships and the Panthers were coming in as the three time defending champion. This was the first time that PAC has hosted the tournament.
The PAC Panthers and Low Country Wildcats kicked off the festivities in the first semi-final game at 9:00 in the morning. The two teams had split a double header earlier in the season so expectations were high and the teams did not disappoint the fans who had come out to watch.
This game turned into a fantastic pitching duel with Dan Beam, for the Panthers, and Zach Hale, for the Wildcats, matching each other pitch for pitch. Both pitchers pitched a complete game with Dan striking out twelve Wildcat batters and Zach striking out eleven Panther batters. Dan allowed two hits and Zach allowed three. Dan faced twenty-two batters (one over the minimum for seven innings) and Zach faced twenty-three (five over the minimum – Zach pitched only six innings as the Wildcats were the visiting team). Dan did not walk a batter while Zach walked one and hit one batter.
The Panthers scored the game’s lone run in the second. Connor Shealy was hit by a pitch with one out. Zach Hale tried to pick Connor off at first but threw the ball down the right field line and Connor was able to sprint all the way to third before the Wildcats could retrieve the ball. Drew McKay was at bat and blooped a soft liner over the second baseman’s head allowing Connor to race home.
The Panthers threatened in the third getting a runner, Avery Blevins, as far as third, but two straight strikeouts ended the threat.
The game ended when Dan induced a soft line drive off the bat of Zach Hale that quietly nestled itself inside the glove of Avery Blevins at second base.
Game Notes: The Panthers only had six productive at bats in the game; missing their goal of eleven by five. Drew McKay, Caleb Green and Avery Blevins had the hits for the Panthers. The Panthers had six assists for the game. The Panthers advanced to their fourth straight state championship game while improving their record to 11-6.