By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
The Southside Panthers advanced to round two of the AHSAA Class 6A state baseball playoffs, taking two of three games from A P. Brewer this past weekend at SHS.
The No. 5 Panthers (27-15) host Scottsboro on Friday (Apr. 29) in a best-of-three series with a doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m. An if-necessary third game is scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m.
Southside dropped the opening game, 1-0, on Friday and came back to take the nightcap 11-0 to set up Saturday’s “if” game, which the Panthers won by a 4-2 margin.
Game 3 had a little to offer for everyone. Brewer jumped to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Kevin Lang walked, stole second, advanced on an error and scored on Dakota Bennett’s long fly to rightfield.
Southside wasted little time in answering, putting a three-spot on the board in the bottom of the inning. The big hit was a towering two-run homer by Tanner Snow.
The Patriots added an unearned run in the top of the second to cut the Panther lead to 3-2. It appeared the game was tied in the top of the fifth inning when a controversial call at second base was reversed, allowing Southside to escape the inning with the one-run lead.
“Weston Ball’s one of the best shortstops I’ve eve coached, and for him to get it to the right spot at the right moment, says a lot for him as a player,” said Bone. “I felt that the umpires got the call right. That’s why you have three [officials] out there.”
The Panthers added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth on a double by Fry and an RBI single by Andrew Bishop.
“That was a little too close for comfort, but we’ll take any win, even if it’s not a pretty one,” said Southside head coach Blake Bone. “We struggled a little bit offensively today, and didn’t have many timely hits expect for the home run. But our pitching and our defense kept us in it and we made plays when we had to.”
Evan Edwards pitched six strong innings in relief of starter Walt Austin. Edwards had six strikeouts while scattering five hits.
“With the season on the line, you’ve got to have guys ready to some in and do their job, and Evan certainly did his today,” said Bone. “That probably was his longest outing of the year. He’s just a sophomore, but he’s done the job every time we’ve called on him. His delivery is just funky enough to give hitters issues at the plate. Without a doubt, he’s been our MVP out of the bullpen this year. He’s a competitor, and we count on him.”
Game 1 of the series turned out to be the pitchers duel it was billed to be.
Logan Miracle was on the mound for Southside while University of Alabama commitment Dakota Bennett toed the rubber for Brewer. After six innings Miracle had struck out 11 while Bennett had fanned 10.
The Patriots’ Will Caudle led off the top of the seventh inning with a hit and was advanced to second on a bunt. He later scored on Blake Golden’s RBI single.
“We knew they had a pitcher the caliber of Bennett,” said Bone. “They got the big hit and we were unable to. But I think that Logan pitched his best game of the year.
Each pitcher gave up three hits.
The second game proved to be another outstanding outing for the Southside pitching rotation, as Greyson Daugherty pitched a two-hitter.
“We needed a stop and for a senior to come in and take care of business, and that what Greyson did for us,” said Bone.
Daniel Sieber went 4-for-4 as the Panthers exploded for 10 hits in the 11-run win.
Southside scored runs in each of the game’s six innings, including five in the top of the sixth.
Baylon Fry and Jacob Coker each had two hits, while Jared Wright and Tanner Snow both singled.
“Hopefully we can have a good week of practice and get a little better for next week,” said Bone.