Panthers Advance to NACA Championship Game by Besting Huntsville Falcons

NACA Tournament (Division #2):              Panthers – 12                     Huntsville Falcons – 1

The Panthers took to the field again on Thursday morning against the Huntsville Falcons (Huntsville, Alabama). John Edens, assistant coach for the Panthers, noted that the Panthers were a loose, confident bunch and felt good about the day’s outcome.  Right before the game started, the PAC Varsity Girls soccer team came into the stands to help cheer on the baseball team.  Rumor has it, they even looked up the words to “Take me out to the ball game” so they could serenade the boys during the game.  They sang it well and kept up a steady stream of noise and encouragement until the game ended.

The game started slowly as both teams adjusted to each other’s pitching and the umpire’s strike zone. The Panthers, playing as the visiting team once more, scratched for two runs in the top of the third.  McKinley Proctor got the Panthers first hit of the game, slamming a double down the left field line.  He later scored on a double by John Edens.  John scored when Parker Pocock reached on an error by the Falcon shortstop.

The Panthers added to their lead in the top of the fourth inning by plating three more runs. Danny Waller and Matthew Derrick hit back to back singles, advancing to third and second respectively, when the right fielder bobbled Matthew’s hit.  Danny scored on a wild pitch with Matthew advancing to third.  McKinley reached on an error by the Falcons second baseman which also allowed Matthew to score.  Austin “Stump” Coates, hitting for Will Lawyer, then slammed a double to deep left field scoring McKinley all the way from first.  The Falcons threatened in the bottom of the frame getting the bases loaded with one out.  The Falcon leadoff hitter (Causey) came to the plate and smashed the ball, right back up the middle.  Panther hurler, Matthew Derrick, threw up a glove to protect himself, snaring the ball and then threw to third forcing the runner before he had a chance to return to the base.  After four innings, the score was 5-0 in the favor of the Panthers.

In the fifth inning, the Panthers went quietly. The Falcons soared across the plate for their lone run in the bottom of the frame.  They scored their run after two singles put a runner on third.  A fielder’s choice allowed the runner on third to score trimming the Panther’s lead to four.

The Panthers blew the game open in top of the sixth by scoring seven runs. The Panthers had six hits, all singles, in the onslaught.  Avery Blevins, McKinley, William Lawyer, John Edens, Cal Hucks and Danny Waller all had hits in the rally.  The Falcons went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning to end the game.

Danny Waller earned the win improving his record to 7-0 on the year. He allowed two hits through two innings.  He was removed by coach’s decision to save pitching for later in the week.  He was replaced by Matthew Derrick who gave up one hit in in two innings.  Dan Beam pitched the fifth inning giving up one earned run on two hits.  Will Lawyer pitched the final inning and did not allow any hits or base runners.

The Panthers had eleven hits in the game. John Edens led the way with a double and a single, scored two runs and had two RBI’s.  Danny Waller had two singles and scored also scored two runs.  McKinley and Stump both doubled.  McKinley also scored two runs.

The win improved the Panther’s record to 22-8 and to 2-0 in the NACA tournament. They advanced to the Division #2 championship game where they will face a homeschool team from New Jersey (Kings) on Thursday night.