SP baseball v Starkville

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Yellowjackets sting Tigers

By Brad Greer
The Starkville baseball team closely resembled the Energizer Bunny  in their Region 2-6A matchup with South Panola Friday night.

They kept on hitting. And hitting. And hitting.

The Yellowjackets roughed up four Tiger pitchers to the tune of 16 hits on their way to a 14-4 victory at Tiger Park. With the win, Starkville took over sole possession of second place in the division standings with a 3-3 record while improving to 10-4 on the season.

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South Panola meanwhile fell to 8-13 and 2-4 in league standings and will host first-place Tupelo, (13-6; 5-1) tonight in a crucial district matchup starting at 7 p.m.

Starkville jumped on Tiger starting pitcher Mitchel Babb for three runs in the first and four more in the second to take a 7-0 lead. South Panola got on the board in the bottom of the second on Joey Gabbard’s fielders’ choice that scored Matt Hendrix. Babb, (3-3) took the loss on the hill, giving up six runs on two hits while walking three and hitting three in 1.1 innings. Nick Brooks threw five innings to pick up the win for Starkville

Lee Self relieved Babb in the second inning and surrendered two runs on five hits and one hit batsmen in 1.1 innings. Hunter Durham followed with three innings on the mound where the freshman gave up seven runs on five hits. Wesley Gregg closed the game by pitching one inning and giving up one run on two hits.

Starkville increased their lead to 8-1 when R.J.Johnson drilled a two-out double to drive in Max Bartlett from second. The ‘Jackets then blew the game open in the sixth by plating four runs on six hits as Nathan Pugh’s two-run single and pair of doubles by Shaquille Hill and Blake Hawkins were big hits in the inning.

South Panola scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth as a tiring Brooks walked the first four batters of the inning. Andrew Horne greeted reliever Reggie Campbell with a infield single that scored courtesy runner Bobby Epps to make the score 12-3. Gabbard followed with a RBI single that plated Hendrix for the Tigers final run.

Starkville added its final runs in the seventh on an RBI triple by Chuck Tillery and a flyout of the bat of Dawkins. Horne led the Tigers at the plate with two singles while Gabbard, Self and Hendrix each singled.

South Panola closed the weekend by dropping an 11-4 verdict to visiting Olive Branch Saturday afternoon. Nathan Vanortwick’s  bases-clearing double in the second inning broke open a 1-1 game as Olive Branch scored two runs in the fourth and sixth inning and three more in the seventh to win going away.

The Tigers scored one run in the first and three in the fifth as Self recorded two of South Panola’s five hits on the day with a double and a RBI single in the first that scored Chris Townsend. Luke Latham added a two-run single in the fifth while Hendrix added a RBI groundout. Townsend and Gregg both registered singles in the contest. Latham, (0-2) took the pitching loss by giving up six runs on six hits over four innings. Gabbard worked the final three innings, surrendering five runs (two earned) on three hits and walking two.