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Panthers win rivalry rubber match

Jemison High School won the rubber match against county rival Chilton County High School with a convincing 8-1 victory on March 30.

Hunter Hood started the game for Jemison and was quickly spotted an early lead, as the Panthers scored six runs in the first two innings to open up a 6-1.

“It definitely makes it a little easier with a little less pressure,” Hood said. “I was able to rely on my curveball to get them to chase it.”

Patience was shown at the plate up and down the Jemison batting order and the Panthers drew 13 walks in the game as a result.

“I think we were exhausted before spring break,” Jemison head coach Phillip Easterling said. “I gave them some days off and they seemed to come back today with more energy and focus.”

Josh Bice set the tone for a big second inning offensively with a leadoff double. Five runs and after all nine Jemison batters stepped to the plate, the inning came to a close.

Austin Chapman stroked a pair of singles his first two trips to the plate and was able to reach base two more times during the game.

“We all just got hot, and it seemed to carry from there,” senior Chase Deason said.

Chilton County had no answer for Hood, who maintained his efficiency en route to a complete game outing that included 10 strikeouts and only one earned run.

“They’ve got a lot of confidence any time that he’s out there on the mound,” Easterling said.

A pair of insurance runs was tacked on in the seventh inning for the Panthers to help seal the deal.

Noah McGhar started the game for the Tigers and pitched a pair of innings. Gabriel Gray and Dustin Langston combined to provide relief on the mound.

With the win, Jemison broke the series tie and claimed baseball bragging rights between the two schools in 2017.

“Anytime you play Clanton, it’s a big deal,” Easterling said. “Everything just kind of went our way today.”