Panther Baseball Survives the Greenville Hurricanes

The PAC varsity baseball team defeated the Heathwood Highlanders by a score of 11-10 last Friday night in a game that ended in a walk-off home run. They liked that so much they decided to beat the Greenville Hurricanes by the same score this past Saturday at Bray Park, coming from behind by two runs in the last inning and, once again, winning on a walk-off hit.

The Hurricanes jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning on four singles. The Panthers got one run back in the bottom of the frame when Avery Blevins led off with an inside the park home run. He drove a line drive into right center field that the center fielder dove for trying to make the catch. The ball skipped by him and rolled all the way to the fence allowing Avery to motor around the bases and score.

The Hurricanes got that run back in the top of the second on a walk, a sacrifice bunt and a single. The Panthers scored their second run in the bottom of the second when Dan Beam walked, was sacrificed to second by Alex McKay, and scored on a single by Avery.

The Hurricanes added to their lead in the top of the third by plating another two runs. Martin led off with a double and scored on an error by the Panther third baseman. Barners reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on an error by the Panther catcher. After three innings, the Hurricanes led 5-2.

The top of the fourth saw the Hurricanes score another three runs to take an 8-2 lead. Hart hit a double with two outs and Moseley was walked. Martin hit his third hit of the game, an inside the park home run to score three runs. The Panthers got those three runs back in the bottom of the inning. Samuel led off with a walk and then Alex McKay drew the second walk of the inning. McKinley Proctor singled to right center field with two outs to score both Samuel and Alex. McKinley stole second base and scored on a double by Micah West. After four innings, the score was 8-5 Greenville.

The Hurricanes were silent in the top of the fifth inning and the Panthers took advantage by tying the game up in their half of the inning. Connor Shealy and Samuel Leslie received back-to-back walks. Alex McKay was then hit by a pitch (more on this in the game notes). Jonathan Sarazen was then up to bat and was also plunked by the Hurricanes pitcher, forcing in Connor Shealy from third. Avery stroked his third hit of the game up the middle to score Samuel and Micaiah who was running for Alex. After five innings, the score was 8-8.

Both team were scoreless in the sixth inning, setting up an exciting finish to the game. The top of the seventh saw the Hurricanes score two runs and seeming put the game away. The Panthers got two quick outs but an error by the Panther shortstop and a double by Barners scored one run and put another in scoring position. A single by Rogers scored that second run and the Panthers were in serious trouble. The Panthers came up to bat trailing 10-8 and were in the bottom of their line-up but the Panthers have a reputation of never giving up and they now took the opportunity to live up to that reputation. Samuel Leslie led off with a single to right field and Micaiah Hinkle followed up with a single of his own to center field. Zach Thurber executed a beautiful sacrifice bunt towards first base. The Hurricane pitcher fielded the ball and glanced towards third. Seeing no play there, he tried to throw to first but made a poor throw allowing both Samuel and Micaiah to score and Zach to motor all the way around to third base. The game was now tied with the winning run on third in the form of Zach. Avery Blevins strode up to the plate and slammed out his fourth hit of the game to left field scoring Zach from third to win the game and allow an on field celebration for the victory.

Game Notes: The Panthers outhit the Hurricanes 11-9. Avery led the way with three singles and an inside the park home run. Avery scored one run and had five RBI’s. McKinley Procter had a single and two RBI’s while scoring one run. Micah West doubled and singled with one RBI. David Hucks had a double and Zach Thurber, Samuel Leslie and Micaiah Hinkle all had their big hits in the seventh inning. Dan Beam was the starting pitcher, pitching three and two thirds innings. He allowed seven runs (five earned) on six hits. He walked one batter and struck out three. The Panthers made two big errors behind him. Micah West pitched the final three and one third innings; allowing three runs (one earned) on three hits. He walked two batters and struck out three Hurricane batters. The Panthers had ten assists led by Caleb Green with five.

Alex McKay was struck in the face by a pitched ball. His nose is broken and he will be out for a while. I spoke with his mother this morning and they are not yet sure if surgery will be required. Please keep Alex and his family in your prayers.