Last week the Panthers had some home cooking playing six total games and all six in the comfort of the Smiths Station Baseball Complex. They went 4-1 over the six games with one game being suspended. The week started out with a mid-week shutout of Beauregard, 10-0. The team had spent the previous two weekends on the road participating in tournaments, but they finally got to stay home and host the East Alabama Classic. The Panthers finished 3-1 throughout the tournament with wins over Hewitt-Trussville, 4-3, Theodore High School, 3-2, and Austin High School, 6-1. The one loss came from Baker High School, 9-6. The Daphne game was suspended due to a fight that broke out on the field during the seventh inning. Daphne was leading 8-2 at the time.
This past week had it all —a shutout, a walkoff walk, a pitcher’s duel, a big lead they never gave up and a bench clearing fight all before the season was suspended by for the COVID-19 outbreak.
Starting with Beauregard, the Panthers sent three pitchers to the mound; Christian Bryan, Trenton Hodgdon and Javi Marerro and they all combined nine strikeouts and allowed only two hits the whole game. Big performances from Carson Swilling who went 3-for-3 with two doubles and one single and drew one walk and three RBIs, and Jackson Huguley went 2-for-3 with two singles and two RBIs.
For the first game of the tournament the Panthers took Hewitt-Trussville to the bottom of the seventh inning tied 3-3. The Panthers didn’t pull anything fancy, collectively the team had three walks, a sacrifice bunt and a hit by pitch. Trenton Hodgdon drew the final walk and scored Hunter Donaldson to win.
Marerro went 2-for-3 scoring two runs and Donaldson went 1-for-1 with two walks. Carson Swilling started on the mound going 6.1 innings and allowed three hits and had eight strikeouts.
Smiths Station made it to a solid four-game winning streak with a win over Theodore. All three runs came for the Panthers in the first and second innings and the rest of the way was handled by pitchers, Caden Hare went 5.0 with seven strikeouts and Gavin Blair closed out the game with 2.0 innings pitched and had three strikeouts. The Panther offense started it off in the bottom of the first with a leadoff double by Zane Faulk and would later score off of a wild pitch after two walks and a sacrifice bunt to start off 2-0. During the second the result was almost identical as the first, after two Panthers were walked and Calen Hill scored on a wild pitch.
The good times couldn’t last forever and the Panthers dropped their first game of the tournament after Baker scored seven runs in the first four innings and it was hard to come back but they did make an attempt at it in the bottom of the seventh scoring four runs themselves. Huguley hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth to get them rolling. He went 2-for-4 with four RBIs. After a sacrifice fly from Faulk, and RBI singles from Swilling and Huguley the lead was shortened to 9-6, but the Panthers ran out of at-bats.
Up next was Austin High School and the Panthers took over the lead early and did not look back. Seven Panthers had at least one hit in this game to have a collective team effort offensively. Huguley continued his good tournament performance, reaching on an error to knock in a run in the first and doubled in the third to knock in an RBI. Marerro had a lot to do with winning this one, he finished 2-for-3 with a home run in the sixth and went to the mound to pitch 6.0 inning and had ten strikeouts.
The last game of the day was against Daphne and was “hard fought” between both teams. Smiths Station only had five hits and scored one run a piece in the first and third innings. Swilling went 2-for-3 with two singles and one RBI. The Daphne offense took control offensively and didn’t look back. The game had a bench clearing brawl to end the game in the seventh after a tough collision at the plate that igniting the fight. As of right now the game is still recorded as a no-contest.
“I think it was a clean play. If he (Daphne player) had gone to the dugout nothing would have happened because he was out,” coach Mike Ferry said about the altercation.