SP vs. Oxford

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 6, 2009

Tigers allow Oxford only one hit in win

By Brad Greer

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South Panola’s Ethan Bright has long been known for what he can do at the plate, but Wednesday night he showed what he can do on the mound.

Bright and sophomore Mitchel Babb combined on a one-hitter as the Tigers downed Oxford 8-3 in a makeup game that was originally scheduled for last Saturday.

This looked better for the Tigers as they retook the field after falling in district play to Tupelo Tuesday night, 10-1. David Renfroe took the loss for the Tigers who only got two hits in the game.

Corbin Moore hit a double for the Tigers.

Despite getting only three hits against Oxford, the Tigers took advantage of  seven walks and eight wild pitches by Charger pitching, while scoring five runs in the last two innings to secure the win and improving to 5-2 overall, 0-1 district on the season. The loss, meanwhile, also dropped Oxford to 5-2 on the year.

Bright, a Dandy Dozen selection, was simply overpowering on the night as the six-foot-five right-hander used a mid-90s fastball to blow past Oxford hitters. The Chargers only hit came on a Curt Presley RBI single that at the time tied the score at one in the top of the third. Bright struck out nine through five innings while allowing two earned runs and two walks to pick up his second victory on the hill this year.

Babb pitched the final two innings of the game as the left-hander used a wicked curve ball to strike out four  while surrendering one run. Babb ran into trouble in the sixth by walking four batters, but then slammed the door on any thoughts of an Oxford rally as he fanned Matt Van Slyke with the bases loaded to retire the side.

“I really did not have to use my curve ball much tonight. They (Oxford) were not catching up with the fastball. I threw a wrinkle in there a few times but mainly was all fastballs,” said Bright. “We needed to come out and play a good game after losing to Tupelo last night. It helped us get our momentum back somewhat.”

South Panola jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning as David Renfroe drew a leadoff walk and then later scored on a wild pitch.

Oxford took a 2-1 lead in the third as Van Slyke led off the inning with a walk then stole second base. Presley then slapped a RBI single up the middle to plate Van Slyke. Two batters later, the speedy Presley then stole home with two outs to give the Chargers a short-lived lead.

The Tigers re-took the lead for good in the bottom half of the frame as No. 9 hitter Joseph Blair reached first base after being hit by a pitch. Courtesy runner Lee Self swiped second and third base then raced home on a wild pitch. Corbin Moore drew a walk and later scored on Bright’s RBI groundout for the go-ahead run.

South Panola tacked on three more runs in the fifth for a 6-2 lead. After  Brice Belvin and Blair reached on a pair of errors, Renfroe recorded the Tigers’ first hit with an infield single to score Self who ran for Belvin.

Later in the inning, South Panola loaded the bases with two outs. Coty Bryant and Dane Broome walked to produce a pair of runs.

“It was a tremendous effort tonight by Ethan. He could have thrown the whole game, but his pitch count got high and on a night like this you have to be careful. Their career is more important to me than one win any day. Mitchel did a great job coming into a pressure situation. Him being a young guy, he struggled a little bit in the sixth inning but he showed some poise and got out of the jam. The next inning he settled down and pitched really well,” said Tiger head coach Patrick Robey.

South Panola tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth on RBI singles by Renfroe and Bright.

The Jr. Varsity team lost to Oxford 4-3 in three-innings.

The Tigers will take to the road tomorrow at Grenada with a single varsity game starting at noon.

The varsity will take a week off and be home Friday, March 13 to host Tupelo in regional action at 5 and 7 p.m.

The South Panola ninth grade team will play a doubleheader at Tupelo today beginning at 5 p.m.