Panthers outlast Red Devils on baseball diamond

Published 4:02 pm Thursday, April 6, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

An inter-county clash between Jemison and Maplesville high schools on the baseball field went the Panthers’ way with a 7-2 win. Jemison scored seven unanswered runs after going down 2-0 in the fourth inning to sprint to the win.

The Panthers were coming off a tough game against the AHSAA Class 5A state runner ups Holtville High School on April 4. The Panthers were within a run at 3-2 in the fourth inning, but Holtville was able to string some runs together late to win.

“It was a slow start (against Maplesville), but they woke up later in the game,” Jemison coach Jason Easterling said. “Coming off a tough game the night before, I was glad we played today.”

Maplesville took that 2-0 lead in the fourth inning behind a two-RBI single from Trace Payne. Jemison tied the game in their ensuing half inning in the fifth after a Maplesville error, and a sacrifice bunt from Hunter Scott.

In the sixth inning, the Panthers took their first lead of the game on an RBI double from Cooper Smitherman, Jemison’s only extra-base hit of the game. Another run was added later in the inning to put the Panthers on top 4-2. Jemison had just three other hits outside of the Smitherman double with Daniel Flores, Lane Pate and London Colton collecting singles.

With only four hits, Jemison did earn nine walks in the game, and Flores had three of them.

Tucker Bean, a senior, pitched his first game since his sophomore year for the Panthers, and was rock solid going seven innings and giving up four hits, two unearned runs, no walks and sat down 10 Maplesville hitters.

“He has got it in him,” Easterling said. “You can put him anywhere on the field, and we thought we would give him a break behind the plate.”

Maplesville equaled Jemison in hits with four. Cody Jones had a double, and Aidan Abbott, Jake Carlee and Payne had singles. Troy McMillan was the starter for the Red Devils and threw three innings of one-hit baseball while striking out three Jemison hitters.

Jemison scored three more runs in the seventh inning to go up 7-2 and put the game out of reach.

“We have to stop leaving runners on base, and get them in when we need to,” Easterling said. “We are pitching well enough, we just have to make the key plays and get a hit when we need to.”

Jemison hosts Marbury High School on April 11 at 6:30 p.m. in their next matchup, an AHSAA Class 5A Area 7 clash. Maplesville travels to Billingsley High School on the same day at 4 p.m. for an AHSAA Class 1A Area 6 matchup.