In a thrilling beginning to the varsity 2014 season, the Panthers clawed their way to victory in a thrilling, come from behind, extra inning game against the Anderson Cavaliers. As this was an early season game, both squads had agreed to limit the game to five innings but that didn’t stop the game from being exciting. The two squads played scoreless baseball until the third inning when the Cavaliers pushed across their first run. The leadoff batter that inning reached first via a base on balls. He was bunted to second and advanced to third on a single to center. With one out, a Cavalier grounded into a fielder’s choice scoring the runner from third. The Panthers retired the Cavaliers in the third without any further damage but the Cavaliers plated two more in the fourth inning. The leadoff hitter reached safely after an error by the Panther shortstop. The next batter hit a triple scoring one run. After retiring one Cavalier batter on a liner to second base, the next batter hit a sacrifice fly to center field scoring the runner from third. So the Panthers entered the last inning, trailing by three runs and had only obtained two hits up unto that point. In the top of the fifth, the first Panther batter struck out. Caleb Wilson advanced to first on an error by the Cavalier shortstop. After a pop up to the infield, Alex Blevins came to bat with two outs and a runner on third. He promptly laced an RBI triple to left field scoring Caleb from first base with Alex sliding into third just ahead of the throw. This brought Sean West, the Panthers Senior catcher to the plate. He followed up Alex’s line drive with one of his own. He hit a deep drive to left field that kept going until it slammed into the oak trees ringing the ball park. He touched home amid a raucous celebration and the momentum had clearly turned to the Panthers side. In the bottom of the 5th inning, the Cavaliers managed to get one runner on but never seriously threatened to score and the game went into extra innings. In the top of the sixth inning, Clay Dickinson reached first after an error by the Cavalier first baseman. It seemed with this and the way the game was tied in the last inning, the Cavaliers felt the momentum continuing to build for the Panthers and began to press a bit. The pitcher threw a wild pitch advancing Clay to second. James Reed followed with a routine grounder to third but the ball was bobbled allowing James too narrowly beat out the throw. On the throw to first, Clay advanced to third. The Cavaliers allowed James to steal second without a throw and then the Cavalier pitcher threw another wild pitch, scoring Clay from third and advancing James to third. Jacob Cain walked and took second on an uncontested steal putting runners on second and third. The Cavalier pitcher then balked James in from third; advancing Jacob to third. The next Panther hitter, Pat Brunson, was hit by a pitch putting him at first. Caleb Wilson hit an infield single re-loading the base for the Panthers but the Cavaliers managed to escape any further damage by inducing a ground out and a strikeout. In the bottom of the frame, one Cavalier reached base but was ultimately stranded there ending the game. The Panthers ended the game with five hits with Alex and Sean clubbing the big blows. Trevor Dacus started the game on the mound for the Panthers and earned the victory. He pitched four innings, facing seventeen batters. Trevor gave up four hits, walked two, struck out two and gave up three runs; only one of which was earned. Alex Blevins relieved Trevor, pitching the fifth and sixth innings for the Panthers. He did not allow a hit or a run; walked one and struck out two. The Panthers are now 1-0 on the season.
Mar 06 2014