Georgiana JV baseball team tops in-county rivals in round-robin tourney

Published 7:05 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A pack of Panthers fended off two groups of Tigers on the prowl as the Georgiana JV baseball squad bested their in-county rivals.

The Panthers beat McKenzie 11-5 before handling Greenville in similar fashion 11-6 Saturday in a Greenville-hosted round-robin tournament.

In doing so, the junior varsity Panthers remain undefeated.

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The Saturday showdown was the first of such round-robin tournaments held among the county’s JV teams.  But it marked an even important first for fourth-year Georgiana head baseball coach Ken Hamilton.

“When you have those in-county rivalries, you want to beat McKenzie and beat Greenville, and we hadn’t done that to this point because we’ve been building with youth,” Hamilton said.

“This weekend was the first time that we beat both McKenzie and Greenville in the same day.  And it really was something where the guys realized for the first time what they were capable of if they stick to the game plan and everyone does their job.  They were ecstatic.”

When asked about what was different Saturday for the Panthers’ junior varsity squad, Hamilton identified the culprit almost immediately.

“That’s easy.  First of all, my pitchers threw strikes,” Hamilton said.

“And our defense played well, and our inability to dominate the game from the pitcher’s mound has always been our biggest problem.  But Saturday, we had two eighth-graders start in Dylan Smith and Jamorris Bethel.  He pitched great.

“Dylan pitched against Greenville, and we didn’t give them a shot.  We put up 10 innings in the first inning against Greenville and ended up beating them 11-6.”

Hamilton said that the pair of wins over competent in-county teams was refreshing, but that the road toward improvement is still a long one.

The biggest challenge facing the Panthers organization now is translating the team’s noticeable success at the junior varsity level to the varsity level.