Two sweeps in two weeks

Panthers sweep second consecutive region rival


Shelby Foster

Senior Will Evans throws a pitch off the mound. Evans pitched a complete game shutout against McIntosh, with 10 strikeouts and two hits.

Morgan Evans, Staff Writer

Set aside the trash talk Panther fans. The varsity baseball team has placed a pretty big target on their jerseys after earning the No. 1 ranking in the state, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution this week.

Shelby Foster
A Panther righty prepares for a pitch against senior Daniel Blair. The Panthers barely defeated the Chiefs 1-0 in a pitchers’ duel.

The Panthers had three days to rest after sweeping Whitewater before they had to face another tough region rival, McIntosh. Although fans will see the stat line showing Starr’s Mill sweeping another region opponent, last week’s series was no walk in the park.

The two teams faced off at McIntosh on Tuesday night with senior Jake Arnold taking the mound. Arnold threw four strikeouts and allowed two hits in 6-⅓ innings, with senior Chance Amell stepping in to pitch the final two outs of the 6-0 shutout.

Thursday night’s game was at Panther Stadium with the Panther bullpen pitching five combined strikeouts and giving up nine hits. The highlight of the night came from senior Kyle Evert’s walk off in the bottom of the seventh, giving the Panthers the 8-7 victory.

“[The walkoff] was pretty cool,” Evert said. “I didn’t hit it great, but it was an error. It did the job.”

Friday night’s matchup featured senior Will Evans for the Panthers vs. senior Daniel Blair for the Chiefs. Both pitchers dominated the game, but the Panthers had the upperhand in the top of the third after senior Drew Pepper drew a walk and advanced to third on sophomore Brian Port’s single. While Evans was up to bat, a passed ball by the catcher gave Pepper the chance to score and Port to advance to third.

Neither Starr’s Mill nor McIntosh were able to score another run, and the Panthers shutout the Chiefs 1-0 in a pitchers’ duel.

“Today, that was all Will Evans,” head coach Brent Moseley said. “[Blair] is a really good pitcher. We haven’t seen a whole lot of really good pitching this year, so that was an adjustment for us, but we found a way to get a run and that’s all we needed.”

Not only did Evans pitch a complete game shutout, in the bottom of the seventh with a 3-2 count, Evans threw a pitch off the mound and broke his cleat. The whole team was searching for an 11-½ size shoe and finally found one from junior designated hitter Cole Gilley. Evans put on the cleat, retired the Chief batter with a strikeout, and finished the game with a ground out and another strikeout.

Last night, the Panthers defeated Pike County 10-1 at home. Next up for the Panthers is a three game series against another region opponent, Riverdale. The Panthers will play at Riverdale tonight and Friday night, and will play the Raiders at home on Thursday.

Although Riverdale is a region opponent, the main focus will be on next week’s three game matchup against Griffin. Griffin is currently the No. 2 seed in region 3-AAAAA, while Starr’s Mill (12-1 overall, 8-0 region) remains the No. 1 seed.