Georgiana falls to J.U. Blacksher in playoffs

Published 3:19 pm Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Georgiana Panthers gave one of their best performances of the year in the playoffs against J.U. Blacksher, but it wasn’t enough to pull out a win to force a deciding third game.

In the first game of the doubleheader, Georgiana lost 9-4 and the Panthers fell 13-2 in the second game.

Jeffrey Phillips went 2-4 with two runs scored in that game and LaJordan Crittenden went 2-4 with a run.

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“Kevin Brogden did a fine job for us on the mound, and we had eight hits against their ace which is the best we’ve hit all year,” said head coach Shane Smothers. “We had people on base every inning, but we just had bad baserunning decisions.”

The second game was a different story.

Brogden, Phillips and Derrick Crittenden all went 2-2 from the plate, but the second inning was a killer for the Panthers.

Blacksher put up five runs in that inning and Georgiana was unable t respond.

“We didn’t have the same effort in that game,” Smothers said. “They got on us early, and we didn’t bounce back.”

Despite the losses, Smothers said he was proud of how his team played.

“The first game was probably our best game of the year,” he said. “We had to play extremely well to have to a chance, and I’m proud of our boys for coming out with confidence after losing to them 11-0 a couple of weeks ago.”

The Panthers will be losing five seniors: Joe Mixon, Terrance Hatcher, Kevin Brogden, Jerrod Lee and Andy Oikle.

Brogden and Lee finish their careers having left a mark on the Georgiana record books.

Brogden leaves ranked No. 1 in school history with 60 hits, No. 2 in runs scored with 47 and No. 12 in batting average at .319.

Lee finishes No. 1 in walks with 37 and 40 runs scored, which is good enough for third place.

“We are really going to miss these five seniors,” Smothers said. “Kevin and Jerrod played well enough to earn a spot in the top career categories, and all these players mean a lot to the program.”

Jeffrey Phillips had the sixth best statistical season in Georgiana history from the plate by batting .469.

“It’s really good to have him coming back,” Smothers said.

The Panthers will also have a number of other young players coming back and several coming up to play high school baseball.

“We had it a goal to make the playoffs, and we did,” Smothers said. “We got Georgiana in the playoffs for the last time, and next year we want to get Butler County Magnet School in there the first time.”

The Panthers ended the season at 6-6.