Southland edges Panthers 3-2

Chula- The Tiftarea Academy Panthers Varsity faced Southland Academy tonight in a fast paced ball game. In the first inning both teams scored, making them tied 1-1, but for the next four innings they fought back and forth to keep the other team from breaking that tie.

Tiftarea plated two runs in the region contest with Southland, mustering 4 hits. Photo:/Erin Parker/SGSN

Tiftarea plated two runs in the region contest with Southland, mustering 4 hits. Photo: Erin Parker/SGSN

Cade Marlowe was the starter for Tiftarea. The Senior University of West Georgia commit went 6 innings, allowed just 2 hits while striking out 12 batters. Marlowe was charged 3 runs in the contest but none were earned.

After retiring the first two batters, Marlowe found a little trouble as third baseman Reed Dillard reached on an error. Hunter Weldon would single, scoring Dillard from second. Marlowe would get his opposing pitcher, Geoffrey McDonald to strike out and end the inning. In the home half of the frame, the Panthers quickly matched Southland Academy’s strong inning with a one-run inning of their own. Marlowe would hit a lead-off single, and be advanced in scoring position by Devon Paulk’s sacrifice bunt down the third base line. Marlowe would plate the tying run, coming on a sacrifice fly by John Tanner.

In the bottom of the fourth inning the score became 1-2 in the Panthers’ favor, when JT Tanner doubled to left field, and then advanced to third when Riley Rycroft laid down a sac bunt, and finally came home when Vickers singled out to right field.

The top of the sixth inning was where the game was decided. Southland gained two runs on Tiftarea’s lead, much to the heartache of Tiftarea’s fan base.  Dillard would single to start the frame, and advance after Marlowe struck Hunter Weldon with a pitch.  With two on, McDonald flew out to center.  The next batter, catcher Hunter Gurley reached on a fielding error. With one dead, and the ducks on the pond, Taylor Weldon hit a sacrifice fly to right field, and scored Dillard and Hunter Weldon for the win.

G McDonald recorded the win for Southland Academy. He allowed two runs over seven innings,struck out seven, walked two and gave up four hits.

Tiftarea falls to 3-6, and will host Valwood Friday night.

The game was hard fought, and the contribution of every team member made the game fun to watch. Southland’s win will not permanently damper that Panther pride though. The Panthers will be coming out again on Friday night, and it is sure to be interesting as they welcome Valwood.  Game time is 6:30 at The Jungle in Chula.

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