Panthers win in Butler County cat fight

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 19, 2000

Sports Writer

South Butler County rivals, the McKenzie Tigers and the Georgiana Panthers, were released from school at 1:30 p.m. on Monday so that both schools could make the trip to McKenzie's baseball field to watch the two teams battle. The

Panthers, helped by errors, had several big innings that led them to a 12-2 win.

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The Panthers, who were looking for their first win of the season, were off and running in the first inning. Leadoff batter Michael Shows struck out, but was able to reach as the ball got by the catcher. Josh Beverly followed him with a single and a walk to Patrick Nelson loaded the bases with no outs.

Aaron Cox drove in the first run of the game with a single. The next batter, Joe Boggan, recorded an RBI on a walk and Cory Nelson drove in the third run of the inning with another single.

But, McKenzie ended the Panther's run when Loren Jones hit into a fielder's choice, resulting in a force out at home plate. The next two batters were retired, but the Panthers were up 3-0.

Jake Ballard, who earned a walk, was McKenzie's first baserunner. He reached second on a balk by Georgiana pitcher Cox. But, he was stranded there as the next two batters were retired.

In the second, Beverly hit a line-drive between the right and center fielders. However, a good throw to the cutoff man and another to the third baseman arrived just in time for a tag as Beverly tried to stretch the double into a triple.

In the top of the third, Georgiana's Cox hit a high pop fly to the second baseman for an ordinary out. But, the ball came off the tip of his mitt and took one bounce on the ground and into the glove of the first baseman before Cox reached the bag for the first out of the inning.

Boggan followed with a walk and Nelson reached on an error. Jones hit into a fielder's choice to put runners at first and second with two outs. Tony Scott earned a walk and the bases were loaded. But, Georgiana was not able to capitalize as McKenzie pitcher Russell Davidson got out of the jam by striking out Jamie Betterton.

It appeared McKenzie was going quietly in the third when their first two batters struck out. But, Sallie reached on a single and Ballard followed with a triple past the rightfielder for McKenzie's first run of the game. Davidson cut the lead to one as

he singled and drove home Ballard. By the end of the third the score was 3-2.

But, McKenzie got in more trouble in the fourth as the first three Georgiana batters reached to load the bases. Cox singled to bring one run home and a walk to Boggan made the score 5-2.

At that point, McKenzie brought in Patrick Hamilton to relieve Davidson. However, he walked the next batter to make the score 6-2 and Scott got an RBI on a ground out. Hamilton scored his first strikeout of the game against Betterton for the second out.

With two outs, Shows walked. A pick-off throw to the third baseman went into the outfield and another Georgiana run scored. Beverly earned a walk to reload the bases and McKenzie made another pitching change, bringing in Eric Gomillion.

The first batter he faced, Nelson, gave him a harsh welcome as he lined a triple over the head of the centerfielder for three RBIs. McKenzie finally recorded the final out of the inning, but they were now down by a score of 12-2.

McKenzie was unable to answer in their half of the inning.

Georgiana had another scoring chance in the fifth, but a fielder's choice play to home plate and another grounder ended the threat.

Down by ten runs, the Tigers needed to score in the fifth to keep the game going. But, all three batters McKenzie sent to the plate hit groundballs to end the game.