Panthers – 6 Calhoun County High School – 5
The Panthers persevered on Monday night and won a hard fought game against the Saints from Calhoun County High School on Monday night. They needed to persevere as they immediately went down to the Saints by 4-0 after the first inning. They persevered because they kept fighting their way back, eventually taking the lead in the fourth inning only to see the Saints tie the game back up. They persevered as they fought to retake the lead in very last inning and then they still had to give the Saints one more at bat until they could come off of the field victorious.
As stated earlier, the Saints plated four in the bottom of the first inning after the Panthers had been retired in order in the top of the frame. Their leadoff batter reached after taking ball four. Their next batter singled to put runners at first and third. An error by the Panther pitcher allowed the first Saints run to score. An error by the Panther shortstop allowed the second Saints run to score and put another runner in scoring position. The second Saint hit of the inning plated the third run and the third hit of the inning plated the fourth run. Three hits by the Saints and three Panther errors had put the Panthers in a deep hole to begin the game but the Panther varsity baseball squad has a resiliency about it that really can’t be taught by coaches. It has to come from within and from learned experience in games like this. Hopefully this lesson can be applied later in life by the players to situations when things aren’t always going according to plan.
The Panthers began the long road back in the top of the second. Cal Hucks drew a walk and then scored on a long double by Matthew Derrick. After holding the Saints scoreless in the bottom of the second, the Panthers added a few more runs to their total in the top of the third. John Edens was hit by a pitch with one out putting him at first base. After a strikeout, James Reed came to bat and hit the first home run for the Panthers this season, scoring two runs and bringing the Panthers to within one (4-3 Saints lead).
The Panthers took their first lead in the top of the fourth. Danny Waller led off with a double to right center field. Matthew Derrick received a free pass to first, advancing Danny to second. Avery Blevins singled to left for his first hit of the night to score Danny and to move Matthew to third. Matthew later scored on a ground out by William Lawyer giving the Panthers a temporary 5-4 lead. The Saints responded immediately to tie the game at five taking advantage of two walks and one single to score their run.
So the game was tied after four innings, which set up an exciting conclusion of the game. Neither team was able to score in the fifth or sixth innings so the teams moved to the seventh still tied at five. Here the scrappy Panthers really showed their mettle to push one across and give them the lead. John Edens led off with a walk but was promptly erased at second when Danny Waller hit into a fielder’s choice. James Reed hit an infield single to advance Danny over to second. Cal Hucks was next and fought off several good pitches before slapping a bouncing grounder through the hole between third and short. It wasn’t hit very hard or far, but it was enough to score Danny from second and the Panthers had the lead again (6-5). The Saints got a runner as far as third in the bottom of the seventh, but could not push him across so the game ended with him stranded there.
The Panthers had ten hits in the game. James Reed had two; a single and a homerun and drove in two runs. Cal Hucks and Avery Blevins both had two singles. Matthew Derrick and Danny Waller both doubled. Others with hits include John Edens and McKinley Proctor. The Panthers reached their per game goal of fourteen productive at-bats in securing the victory.
James Reed was the starting pitcher for PAC. He pitched five innings allowing five runs; three of which were earned. He was followed to the mound by Danny Waller (5-0). Danny pitched the final two innings only allowing one hit. He struck out one and walked one.
No rest for the weary as the Panthers take to the diamond once again tonight against Augusta Christian at Bray Park for their last game before Easter break. This will be their fourth game in as many days. Someone needs to take a big stick to whoever schedules their games. After this, the team will take a well deserved rest before coming back together as a team next Monday night for practice.