By Chad Dixon
The Smiths Station Panthers (16-8) have been a fixture in the ASWA Top 10 for the majority of the 2018 season. Smiths Station entered the week as the number seven team in the state of Alabama in Class 7A.
Smiths Station split a double header at Beauregard on March 24. They lost game one 8-4. Trailing 5-0, they scored four in the top of the fourth inning.
Jerry Dale Bowman and Matthew Ventimiglia drew walks to start the frame. Later in the inning, Hunter Henderson hit a two-out RBI single to score Ventimiglia. In the next at bat, Colby Porter hit a three-run homerun to cut the lead to 5-4.
Game two was a pitcher’s duel. After five scoreless innings, Sterling Evilsizer singled with two out to score Justin Owens to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead. Henderson singled to lead off the top of the seventh. Owens hit a RBI single later in the inning to extend the lead to 2-0. Carter Duke added a sacrifice fly to score the third Smiths Station run. The Panthers would hold on for a 3-1 win.
Trent Hodgdon allowed one earned run over six hitless innings to notch the win. He stuck out five. Dalton Harrelson picked up the save in the seventh. With the tying run on, he got the double play ground ball he wanted (4-6-3). The next hitter grounded back to Harrelson to end the game.
The Panthers are playing this week in the Gulf Shores Classic. They started pool play on March 26 with a pair of losses to McKeel Academy and Thompson. They lost 5-4 to McKeel Academy. Owens was 3-for-4 at the plate. Harrelson scored twice and was 2-for-4 with a double.
Henderson and Tyler Byrd had an RBI each. Ryan Middleton took the loss. He pitched six innings, allowed five earned runs on five hits and struck out five.
The Panthers’ bats were silenced in a 4-0 loss to Thompson on Monday. Harrelson led the Smiths Station offense going 2-for-3 with a double. Clay Weatherly took the loss. He allowed two earned runs through five innings. He struck out six and walked five.