By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
Southside rallied twice against Sardis on Tuesday (Apr. 16) for a 6-5 nine-inning victory in the Etowah County Schools baseball tournament at Sardis City.
The Class 5A No. 4 Panthers (24-10) defeated Hokes Bluff in the semifinals earlier in the day.
Southside head coach Blake Bone was pleased with the evening’s result but felt that his team could have played better.
“We didn’t defend very well in the field and our pitchers had a hard time throwing strikes. “Even though we didn’t play our best, they were good wins for us. Hokes Bluff and Sardis both played great today, and it helps to play that competition with the playoffs coming up.”
Sardis managed only two hits in the championship game.
The bottom of the first saw the Panthers take a two-run lead by way of RBI groundouts from Hunter Clough and Blake Devine.
The Lions came roaring back with four runs in the top of the third.
Dexter McKinney walked with the bases loaded to drive in Hunter Tolleson. After Southside pitcher Justin Nichols induced a fielder’s choice and fly out to short, Seth Smith came home on an error to tie the game at 2-2.
A throwing error then allowed Jesse Hubbard to score and provide Sardis with a 3-2 lead. Another wild pitch brought home Toby Pee, making in 4-2 in favor of the Lions.
The Panthers got two runs back in the bottom of the fifth.
A triple to rightfield by Blake Devine scored Drew Mullinax, and then Cody Pylant tied the game with an RBI single.
Southside, however, retook the lead in the bottom of the sixth.
After Mullinax worked a two-out walk, Andrew Fuhrman singled. Mullinax advanced on an errant throw and scored when the Lions attempted to throw out Fuhrman at second base.
Sardis tied the game in the top of the seventh.
With runners on second and third and two out, Kyle Duckett singled to left to plate Hubbard and even the score at 5-5.
But Devine cut down McKinney, who was trying to score on the play, at the plate to prevent the Lions from taking the lead.
Neither team got on the board again until the bottom of the ninth, when Pylant’s game-winning hit drove in Fuhrman.
Tyler Burke was the winning pitcher while Cody Turk took the loss.
Furhman, Pylant and Devine each had two hits for the Panthers.
Smith, Jesse Hubbard and Kyle Duckett each had a hit for Sardis.