By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent
Southside High made no bones about who was to be crowned county baseball champion, as the No. 4 Panthers bested Sardis, 9-0, in the championship game on Saturday (Apr. 12) at SHS.
In fact, the game was so one-sided that Will Scott’s single in the seventh inning was the first and lone hit for the Lions, who had only four baserunners for the game.
“We executed well in all phases of the game,” Southside coach Blake Bone said. “Our pitchers kept them off balance, our defense played well and we hit the ball well. We took command early and kept them at bay.”
Lakota Leek pitched the first three innings and gave up only three walks while striking out three. Braxton Light fanned 10 and allowed only the one hit in four innings of work.
Meanwhile, the Panthers (30-7) bats were finding leather every inning. Southside scored in each inning except the fourth and sixth, and the Panthers left five runners on base in those two frames.
In all, Southside collected 12 hits and drew 12 walks.
Blake Devine led off the bottom of the first with a walk. He then stole second and third and scored on a wild pitch.
Hunter Clough finished with three RBI, including a two-run triple. Light drove in a run, as did Matt West and Woody Frye.
“It’s always good to win the county championship,” Bone said. “It’s a good experience for the kids to have the bragging rights.”
In semifinal action, Sardis defeated Glencoe, 4-3. For the Lions, Austin Hallmark had a hit, three walks and scored two runs, while Dylan Bolding had an RBI single and scored a run.
The Panthers defeated West End in the other semifinal, 10-4.
Southside hosts Scottsboro on Friday (Apr. 18) at 5 in a doubleheader to lead off the Class 5A state playoffs. The if-necessary Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m.
Sardis travels to Alexandria for the first round of the 3A state playoffs. The teams will play at 4:30 and 7 p.m. on Friday with a 12 p.m. if-necessary Game 3 on Saturday.