Panthers slip by Tigers in final inning

Published 5:09 pm Friday, April 10, 2009

The McKenzie Tigers closed their 2009 season with a big comeback against Georgiana only to have it slip away in the bottom of the seventh inning and lose 10-9.

Tied at nine in the top of the seventh inning, McKenzie’s Calvin Henderson was thrown trying to steal third base by Georgiana’s Derrick Crittenden.

The Panthers dodged another bullet when Cliff Pugh sent a ball to the fence before it was caught by Andy Oikle.

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In the bottom of the inning, LaJordan Crittenden struck out, but the ball was dropped and the throw to first base sailed into right field.

Crittenden advance to third base, and a hit to center field from Terrance Hatcher brought in the game-winning run.

“I told them before the game not to be surprised if it’s a nailbiter,” said Georgiana head coach Shane Smothers. “We both had one big inning, and that’s baseball. Around 80 percent of wins come from one good inning.”

Georgiana’s big inning came in the third, when Jeffrey Phillips, Kevin Brogden, Hatcher, Joe Mixon, Jerrod Lee, and Travonte Feagin scored to put the Panthers ahead 8-1.

McKenzie got the majority of their runs in the fifth inning, when Cliff Pugh, Dustin Shell, Freddie Banks, Melvin Owens and Ben Presley scored.

“I hate to see them lose like that, but we had fun,” said McKenzie head coach Mike Bass. “Dustin Shell pitched well, but we didn’t play well behind him to begin with.”

The loss ends McKenzie’s season, but Bass said there are some bright spots for the future.

“Everyone but Chris Pouncey is coming back, and he played well for us today,” he said. “He had the big hit to tie the game at nine.”

“I’m glad that we played Georgiana a good game and played our best at the end of the season,” Bass added.

Earlier in the week, the Panthers dropped games to J.U. Blacksher and Pleasant Home, which sets up a match with Blacksher in the playoffs next week.

That game is scheduled for 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. next Friday at J.U. Blacksher.