Baseball typically starts in early March, and while baseball teams are sometimes referred to as the ‘Boys of Summer’, you needed a heavy coat to catch the games on opening week. Tuesday of this past week the Panthers were supposed to play at Dixie to open the 2018 season. Mother Nature had other plans as the game was wash-out. That particular game has been rescheduled for April 21st. Finally on Thursday night, the Panthers and first year head coach Nick Milford, turned on the lights and opened the gates at Charles Powell Park. The BHP Bears came to town and were welcomed with a first pitch temperature of 42 degrees and a 30+ mph wind that whipped the entire length of the contest. Zach Overholt(2-0) got the opening day nod and took the mound for the Panthers. Things got off to a shaky start as he allowed a run on two hits in the opening stanza. However, Overholt settled in and never allowed a single hit over the rest of the game. Overholt finished with 6 innings pitched, allowing 2 hits, 1 earned run and struck out 8 while walking 1 batter.
The Panthers answered in the bottom of the first inning as Matthew Ellis singled, followed by a bunt single from Bryce Jackson. Zach Overholt helped his own cause on the mound by doubling to centerfield, which scored Ellis and Jackson. Grayson Powell singled and a Jay Marshall sac fly scored Overholt. The Panthers led 3-1 after the first inning and never looked back. BHP never got anything going at the plate as Overholt kept them off balance with a mix of nasty curve balls and a fastball that popped the catcher’s mitt. He threw 87 pitches in the 12-1 win. The game was called in the 6th inning due to the ten-run mercy rule when Hunter Rodgers hit a bases clearing double.
The Panthers had a quick turn around as they hosted Ware Shoals on Friday night. Grayson Powell (1-0) got the start on the mound for the Panthers and kept the Hornet hitters off balance with a hard fastball and a great mix of off speed pitches. Powell went three and two thirds innings while only giving up two hits and striking out six batters. The Panthers benefitted from six Hornet’s errors throughout the game and led 8-0 entering the 7th inning. Ware Shoals plated three runs in the top of the 7th, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Panthers. Bryce Jackson, Matthew Ellis and Jay Marshall all pitched in relief Friday night. Marshall helped the Panthers with a triple that scored two runs and some solid defense as he played 2nd base, short stop as well as pitching.
The Panthers are hitting .323 as a team and are scheduled to play at Crescent tonight but that game has been postponed due to rain. We will keep you informed as to when and where the make up game will be played. The rest of the week has the Panthers hosting Greenville Tech on Tuesday at 7pm and then hitting the road to play at Greenville Tech on Friday at 7pm.
God Bless and Go Panthers!