SP Baseball

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 28, 2009

South Panola left-handed pitcher Mitchel Babb (right) tags the Greenville runner in a rundown Thursday night. The Panolian photo by Myra Bean

Tigers baseball season ends after a four-game playoff tournament

By Brad Greer

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South Panola saw its baseball season come to an end Saturday afternoon as homestanding Southaven scored four runs in the fifth inning to break open a scoreless game in route to a 11-0 win in six innings to advance to this week’s quarterfinal round of the North 5A playoffs.

After defeating Greenville-Weston 13-1 at home Thursday in the first game of the three-team double elimination tournament, the Tigers faced off against the 21-3 Chargers in Friday night’s winners bracket game with the loser taking on Greenville in the nightcap.

Junior left-hander Dalton Short outdueled South Panola’s David Renfroe on the mound as the Chargers came away with a 5-1 victory. Short, (8-0), struck out 11 while scattering four hits to pick up the win. Renfroe meanwhile was tagged with the loss, going six innings while surrendering all five runs (four earned) on eight hits and fanning six.

Failure to get the key hit with runners in scoring position was South Panola’s downfall as the Tigers left 10 runners on base (27 total in the three games) including runners on second or third in every inning of the game.

After Southaven took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, South Panola stranded runners on second with one out in the second, first and second with out one in the third, second with one out in the fifth, second with no outs in the sixth and the bases loaded in the seventh when Short fanned pinch-hitter Zach Horne to end the game.

Southaven added another run in the bottom of the fourth as Eric Wilson singled up the middle with runners on second and third. Drew Tatum tried to score from second on the play but was thrown out as center fielder Corbin Moore threw a missle to catcher Joseph Blair at home plate to retire the side.

The Chargers added an unearned run in the fifth as Jack Lartigue doubled  and later scored on a two-out error. South Panola scored their only run in the seventh as Renfroe drew a one-out walk, stold second and later came home on Moore’s infield single.

 South Panola – 8   Greenville – 5

 The  loss knocked the Tigers into the elimination game and a rematch with the Hornets Friday night.

    After  Weston scored a unearned run in the bottom of the sixth to take a 5-4 lead, the Tigers were down to their final three outs in the top of the seventh before exploding for four runs on six straight hits.

Joseph Blair got the rally started with a leadoff single. Ethan Bright, who had been hitless in both games (with three walks) drilled a line drive home run just over the right field wall to put South Panola ahead for good. Wesley Gregg and Corbin Moore followed with back-to-back doubles while Coty Bryant and Whit Whitten added singles.

South Panola took a 4-1 lead in the top of the second off Hornet starting pitcher Vermal Hobbs. Bryant and Whitten led off the inning with singles, after Broome fanned, Lee Self and David Renfroe smacked a pair of RBI doubles.

Greenville, (11-8), responded with a pair of runs in the third to close the gap to 4-3 then tied the game in the bottom of the fifth on a RBI triple by J’Darrion Jackson.

Senior Brice Belvin got the start on the mound and went 4.1 innings, giving up four runs on six hits. Whitten replaced Belvin in the fifth  and pitched the final 2.1 innings to garner the victory.

Bryant, Whitten, Moore, Blair and Renfroe all had two hits each in the Tigers 13-hit attack.

Southaven – 11   SP- 0

Heading into Saturday’s contest, the Tigers had to defeat Southaven twice  to advance to the next round. But just like their first matchup on Friday, the Tigers could not get the key hit with runners on base. In the second inning, Whit Whitten was stranded on third base after a Lee Self groundout ended the inning.

One inning later, South Panola loaded the bases with two outs only to have Southaven pitcher Tyler Brant strike out Whitten to end the threat.

Tiger starting pitcher Ethan Bright, who cruised through the first four innings giving up one hit, ran into trouble  in the fifth inning by giving up a pair of two-out singles. South Panola  coach Patrick Robey then rolled the dice by walking leadoff hitter Kyle Moore to set up the force play at any base.

The move backfired on Robey as Jack Lartigue drilled a double into left-center field that cleared the bases. Michael Lartigue followed with a RBI single to score his brother for a 4-0 lead.

Southaven, (22-3) put the game away in the sixth by scoring seven hits on seven hits. Dalton Short led off the inning with a double followed by Wesley Winfield two-run dinger that ended Bright’s day on the mound. Mitchel  Babb entered the game but never recorded an out as he gave up two walks and a pair of singles. Matt Hendrix relieved Babb on the hill and gave up three singles but got out of more danger by inducing a flyout to end the inning.

South Panola, who finished the season at 17-10, got a pair of singles by David Renfroe and Dane Broome for the only hits of the game.