By Chad Dixon
The Smiths Station Panthers (11-2) rebounded from a 3-0 loss to McGill-Toolen on March 9 to win back-to-back games against UMS-Wright and Faith Academy on March 11 in Mobile, Ala. over the weekend. The Panthers’ offense could not muster up a hit on Friday in a 3-0 loss to McGill-Toolen. It was only the second loss of the season. Starting pitcher Ryan Middleton took the hard luck loss. He surrendered three hits on nine hits through six innings and struck out three.
Justin Owens tied UMS-Wright at one in the top of the fourth on Saturday. He walked on four pitches to start the inning and scored on a steal of home later in the inning. Jerry Dale Bowman singled to start the top of sixth. He stole second and scored when Ryan Bradley singled in the next at-bat to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead. The Panthers added a run when Hunter Henderson hit an RBI single in the top of the seventh. UMS-Wright scored a pair in the bottom of the inning to send the game to extras.
Matt Ventimiglia and Chase Locklar drew a pair of one-out walks in the top of the eighth. Sterling Evilsizer singled to left to score Ventimiglia and give Smiths Station a 4-3 lead. Ventimiglia would protect the lead in the eighth on the mound to notch the win. He pitched two innings, allowed two earned runs on one hit, walked four and struck out one. Bowman was 2-for-3 at the plate. Clay Weatherly picked up a no decision. He struck out eight over six innings. He allowed one unearned run on four hits.
Bowman was lights out in a 4-0 win over Faith Academy in the Panthers’ second game on Saturday. He threw seven complete innings with 88 pitches. He allowed only three hits and struck out eight. He started the game retiring the first 11 batters he faced. Bowman has allowed only one earned run over 24 innings this season. He leads the team with a 0.29 ERA and a 0.42 WHIP. He has a total of 28 total strikeouts.
Dalton Gunter hit a two-run single to left in the top of the third to provide Bowman with all of the run support that he would need. Owens was 3-for-4 with an RBI and scored once.
Smiths Station will host Spain Park on March 16 at 7 p.m. ET and will host Theodore and Hartselle High School on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. ET.