Panthers – 7 Wardlaw Academy – 4
The Panthers prevailed in their second game of the Jefferson Davis preseason baseball tournament in Blackville, South Carolina by besting Wardlaw Academy 7-4. The Panthers were the home team so the Patriots from Wardlaw Academy grabbed their lumber first. Two straight Panther error to open the game put runners at first and second. A double scored both runs putting the Panthers in an early two run hole. The Panthers were unfazed by this and responded with three runs in the bottom of the first. Avery Blevins singled to start the inning but was forced out at second when McKinley Proctor hit into a fielder’s choice. McKinley scored on a long double to center field by Caleb Green. Caleb scored on a single by Jonathan Sarazen, who later scored on an error by the Patriot center fielder.
The Patriots tied the game in the top of the second on the strength of a walk and a double. The Panthers retook the lead in the bottom of the third by plating two runs. Caleb hit his second double of the game with one out. He scored on a single by David Hucks. David later scored on a double by Conner Shealy. After three innings, the Panthers led 5-3.
The Panthers added two insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Micah West led off with a double and Caleb was hit by a pitch putting runners at first and second. After two outs, Samuel Leslie was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Micah scored with Conner worked the pitcher for a walk and Caleb scored on a wild pitch. After five, the Panthers enjoyed a 7-3 advantage. The Patriots refused to go quietly and loaded the bases with no outs against the Panther starter, David Hucks, who was beginning to tire. Samuel Leslie came in to try and put out the fire before it raged out of control burning up the Panthers lead. He fell behind the first batter, but came back to induce a fly ball to center field which allowed the runner at third to score but the other runners were unable to advance. The second batter flew out to left field and there were now two outs in the inning. The third batter Samuel faced hit a looping liner back up the middle that shortstop Avery Blevins slid over to swallow up and touch second base before the advancing runner could get there. It was a fine pitching performance by Samuel. This was the last run either team would score so the Panthers prevailed 7-4.
The Panthers had nine hits in the game and were led by Caleb who smashed two doubles. Micah, Conner and Micaiah Hinkle also doubled for the Panthers. Avery Blevins contributed two singles and others with hits were Jonathan and David.
David Hucks was the starting pitcher for PAC. He pitched five innings, allowing four runs on three hits. Samuel Leslie relieved David, pitching out of a no out, bases loaded situation in the sixth before closing out the game. David (1-0) earned a win for his efforts and Samuel earned a save.
The Panthers are now 2-0 on the season and play Columbia High School on Monday evening (weather permitting).