By Shannon J. Allen
Sand Mountain Reporter
A seven-run outburst in the top of the sixth inning propelled Southside High to a 9-2 triumph over Albertville in the Class 6A, Area 13 baseball opener for both squads on Tuesday (Mar. 22) at AHS.
Trailing 1-0, the Aggies gained the momentum in the top of the fourth when starting pitcher Nathan Fortner tagged out two Southside players in rundowns. Fortner retired Logan Brooks between third base and home plate, and then tagged out Baylor Millhoff as he was sliding into third base.
Caylor Slivka and Janzen Powell started the home half of the fourth with back-to-back singles. Dillon Honea then stepped into the batter’s box and drove a 3-2 pitch into the left-field corner, scoring Slivka and Powell’s courtesy runner, Ryan Brown. Southside threw out Honea at third as he tried to stretch his double into a triple.
For the game, the Aggies tagged out four Southside players in rundowns and cut down another one at home plate.
The Panthers (14-11) sent 12 batters to the plate during the decisive sixth frame.
Brooks stroked a leadoff single and reached second base when the Aggies committed a throwing error on Weston Ball’s bunt.
Adam Lister’s bunt single then loaded the bases for Austin Winningham, whose grounder forced out Brooks at home. But Greyson Daugherty was then hit by a pitch, forcing in Ball with the tying run.
Tanner Snow and Jacob Coker followed with consecutive RBI singles, giving the Panthers a 4-2 lead. Baylon Fry’s two-run single made it 6-2.
Steven Defranco drove in the Panthers’ seventh run with a fielder’s choice, while Fry scored on a wild pitch to give the visitors an 8-2 advantage.
Southside scored its ninth run on Coker’s two-out RBI single in the top of the seventh.
Snow and Coker each collected three hits for the Panthers, with Coker driving in three runs. Brooks and Millhoff both had two hits.
Winningham threw a complete game to earn the win for Southside. He allowed six hits over seven innings.