Panthers drop baseball area opener

Published 4:51 pm Tuesday, March 25, 2014

By Trey Hickman | For the Shelby County Reporter

Tyler Harrell provided plenty of power at the plate while Matthew Marfice turned in a complete game on the mound as Calera opened area play in style with a 7-4 win over visiting Jemison in varsity baseball on March 20.

Harrell went 3-for-4, belting two homers, roping a double and recording four RBI. Meanwhile, Marfice went the distance (seven innings), surrendering two earned runs, striking out five and walking two against Calera’s Class 4A Area 7 foe.

“Tyler joined us this year, and he’s been hitting solid all year long,” said Calera head coach Seth Gandy. “Great hitter. Very much a power hitter. We depend on him a lot for our power. We depend on him a lot for our RBI. That’s why he’s kind of down in the order (at No. 5): to drive people in.

“Matthew, he’s been quality all year long. He’s thrown great. He’s gotten better as the season’s gone on. We came out tonight expecting him to throw a complete game, and he did that. He had quality pitches, quality stuff tonight. (I) couldn’t be more proud of him.”

Before Harrell’s bat heated up, Calera capitalized on a sloppy first inning by the Panthers. The Eagles scored a pair of runs thanks in part to three errors and two hit batsmen by Jemison.

Two innings later, Calera doubled its output after Coby Mize singled and crossed home plate on a two-run homer by Harrell.

The Panthers finally got on the board in the fourth when two Calera errors led to Tremon Bryant and Austin Chapman each scoring to cut the Eagles’ lead to 4-2.

In the fifth, Jemison tacked on another run when Logan Ray knocked in William Lenoir.

However, in the bottom of the inning, Harrell gave Calera the only additional run it would need via a solo homer, while Devin Buckanen logged an RBI single as the Eagles extended their lead to 6-3.

While Harrell hurt Jemison’s cause with his performance, the Panthers hurt themselves with their inauspicious opening inning in the field, a display to which Jemison has unfortunately become accustomed.

“(Errors have) been the story of the year,” said Jemison head coach Jason Easterling. “Errors have plagued us all year long, but we started to hit the ball a little bit late in the game, did some things, and if we’d just do that from the beginning we’d be better off.”

In addition to Harrell’s showing, Devin Buckanen finished 2-for-3 with his RBI as Coby Mize drove in a run of his own.

Logan Ray led the Jemison bats, going 1-for-3 with a double and two RBI.

Calera improved to 5-15 on the season and 1-0 in Area 7 while Jemison fell to 4-11 overall and 0-1 in area play.