Southside sweeps Fort Payne, moves to quarterfinals

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By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent

Class 6A, No. 8 Southside advanced to the high school state baseball playoff quarterfinals with wins of 10-0 and 7-1 over Fort Payne on Friday (Apr. 24) at SHS. Southside head coach Blake Bone was happy with his team’s effort, especially the starting pitching. 

“We held the Ft. Payne hits to a minimum and defended well. Giving up only one hit in each game makes it hard on your opponent to win.”

The Panthers (24-9) host top-ranked Cullman in a best-of-three series beginning Friday (May 1) at 5 p.m. An if-necessary game 3 will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday. 

Southside got an outstanding pitching performance from Brock Love in the five-inning victory in Friday afternoon’s opening game. He allowed just one hit while striking out eight. Love also collected three hits and an RBI at the plate. 

Southside opened the scoring barrage in the bottom of the second inning with a two-out single by Tanner Snow that drove in Greyson Daugherty, who had singled. The Panthers added a pair of runs in the third when Dakota Garmon’s double drove in Saige Benson and Landon Cunningham to make it 3-0.

The fourth inning was the backbreaker for the Wildcats, as Southside sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five runs on seven hits. The big hit of the inning was a towering two-run homer by Lakota Leek, giving the Panthers an 8-0 comfort margin. 

Southside ended the game on the 10-run mercy rule in the fifth inning, adding two runs on four hits. 

At the plate for the Panthers, Garmon had two hits and two RBI. Saige Benson collected three hits and an RBI. Tanner Snow and Landon Cunningham each added two hits and one RBI. Hunter Clough contributed one hit and one RBI.

Game2o saw the Panthers take up where they left off. Winning pitcher Logan Miracle gave up one hit and one earned run while striking out 10 in six innings. 

Southside got the ball rolling in the top of the first when Snow led off with a single, stole second and scored on Clough’s single to give the Panthers a 1-0 advantage. 

Fort Payne tied the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the second with an unearned run. 

A five-run run outburst in the top of the third gave the Panthers a 6-1 lead and thoughts of a Round 3 match-up with the No. 1 Bearcats. 

Southside’s final run came in the top of the sixth when Coker singled and scored on a Wildcat error. 

Clough had three hits and two RBI, while Leek and Benson each had one hit and an RBI. Snow and Jacob Coker added one hit apiece.

“Greyson Daugherty had a great series for us,” said Bone. “He continued to get on base and extend innings.”

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