Panthers batter Hokes Bluff for county baseball title


By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent

  Southside High head baseball coach Blake Bone knew what his
team needed to win another county championship – hitting from the lower end of
his lineup.

“We needed run production from the lower third of our order
to beat a good team like Hokes Bluff,” he said following the Panthers’ 9-1
victory over Hokes Bluff on Tuesday (Apr. 14) at SHS.

Baylor Fry took his coach’s words to heart, going 4-for-4
with three doubles and a single. The Panthers (20-9) roughed up four Eagle
pitchers in building a 9-0 lead. Hokes Bluff’s lone run came in the bottom
of the seventh inning.

Southside wasted little time in getting to Eagle starter
Jace Stewart. Dakota Garmon walked in the top of the second inning with one
out, followed by a Jacob Coker double. Greyson Daugherty singled in Garmon and
Frey doubled in Coker and Daugherty for a 3-0 lead.

Southside added three more runs in the top of the third on
respective singles by Tanner Snow and Lakota Leek and a hit batter by Hunter
Clough to load the bases.

Landon Cunningham singled in Snow and Garmon walked to drive
in the fifth Panther run.

Coker hit into a double play to score Clough, making it a
six-run advantage.

Southside added a run in the fourth inning on an RBI single
by Leek, driving in Snow to increase the lead to 7-0.

The “visiting” Panthers added a pair of runs in
the seventh inning by way of an RBI single by Daugherty and a double by Fry.

Hokes Bluff’s lone run came in the bottom of the seventh
when Drake Nanney doubled and scored on an error for the Eagles (15-7).

Southside starter Logan Miracle pitched three innings of
no-hit ball. He was replaced by Leek, who gave up three hits and no runs. Tyler
Burke closed out the game for the Panthers, giving up two hits. The Southside
pitchers combined for nine strikeouts and four walks.

Wyatt Watson went 2-for-2 for Hokes Bluff, while Kaden Moore
had one.

“This was a good win for our program,” said Bone.
“We’ve played through adversity and injuries, and it was a good win before
a good crowd!”

No. 8 Southside will host Lee of Huntsville on Friday in the
first round of the Class 6A state playoffs, while Hokes Bluff hosts Cleburne
County in 4A. 

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