By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent
The hunt for the state baseball championships is on, and Southside High made its Class 5A first-round series look easy, beating Scottsboro 7-0 and 12-0 on Friday (Apr. 18) at SHS.
The fourth-ranked Panthers (32-7) were clicking on all cylinders, as evidenced by the fact the Wildcats had only three base-runners and just two hits in the doubleheader.
Contrast that with the 24 hits piled up by Southside.
The Panthers host Arab (24-13) on Friday in a doubleheader of a best-of-three second round series. The Knights defeated Etowah in the first round.
“We hit the ball hard and had some timely hitting,” Southside coach Blake Bone said. “We maybe had a couple of lapses but in all, we competed in the box.”
The Panthers wasted no time scoring their first run, as leadoff hitter Blake Devine singled, moved around to third on a stolen base and a balk, then scored on a Braxton Light sacrifice fly.
Meanwhile, starting pitcher Drew Mullinax was breezing through the Wildcats lineup, striking out six and allowing only one hit and one walk.
“Both of our starting pitchers did a heck of a job,” Bone said. “They mixed their pitches and threw strikes. But it wasn’t just them – the bullpen pitchers did a great job, too.”
Second game pitcher Brock Love fanned six while also allowing only one hit. He walked none.
Hunter Clough hurled the final inning of the first game and struck out two. Light repeated the performance in the nightcap.
The Panthers were also playing great defense, making zero errors.
“It’s easy to play good defense behind a guy who throws strikes,” Bone said. “We didn’t have a lot of putouts but when the ball was hit, we were there to catch it.”
Light finished with three RBI. Clough also drove in three runs, with a two-run double. Devine had three RBI, including a run-scoring triple.
Love tripled, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Tanner Snow. Snow had another RBI when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.