Panthers knocked out of playoffs at Bibb Co.

Published 10:29 pm Friday, April 25, 2014

By Trey Hickman | Special to the Advertiser

The Jemison Panthers ran into some familiar faces in their best-of-three series in the second round of the Class 4A baseball state playoffs.

After disposing of Oak Grove in Round 1, Jemison moved on to face Area 7 foe Bibb County.

Justin Caudle pitched for Jemison against Bibb County in the Class 4A state baseball playoffs.

Justin Caudle pitched for Jemison against Bibb County in the Class 4A state baseball playoffs.

It proved an unpleasant reunion for the visiting Panthers.

After taking the opening game 4-3, Bibb County’s bats blasted their way to a 10-0 win in Game 2 to complete the doubleheader sweep and oust Jemison from the postseason.

With a 3-3 score, bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Phillip Lenoir–on in relief of starter Banks Woodley–beaned Bibb County’s Dyllan Suttle to force in the game-winning run. Jemison’s Jacod Bates did his part at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and three RBI, but to no avail.

One game shy of playoff elimination, Jemison met with a bad omen in the early going of Game 2.

On the shoulders of Hunter Caffee’s two-run home run, Bibb County shot out of the gate for a 5-0 lead in the first inning.

Things hardly improved for the Panthers in the second inning as Justin Cottingham’s run-scoring double highlighted four more runs for the Choctaws.

Bibb County scored again in the fourth before Cottingham retired six straight Panther batters to get the complete-game win in a game called after five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.

“They jumped out (to) an early lead, and we never recovered,” Jemison coach Jason Easterling said. “It’s tough, but a couple of weeks ago we didn’t expect to be here, so we’re just going to be proud that we got to the point we are and get ready and work for next year.

“I had a great group of seniors and I’m going to miss them, but that’s the way it goes. It always has to end at some point.”

Offensively for Jemison in the first game, Gabe Hayes complemented Bates’ effort with a 2-for-3 performance, while Bates’ first-inning double served as the Panthers’ lone hit in Game 2.

Jemison ended its season with a 14-19 record.