SP Baseball

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lafayette avoids mercy rule loss with 15-run inning

By Brad Greer

On any other normal day 14 runs and 17 hits would spell victory for a baseball team. But, Saturday afternoon was anything but normal for the South Panola Tigers.

Trailing 13-4 after five innings, the visiting Lafayette County Commodores scored an amazing 15 runs in the top of the sixth inning to rally for a 21-14 slugfest win over the Tigers.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“Two weeks ago after we got 23 hits against Grenada, I thought I have seen it all but this takes the cake,” said a subdued South Panola head coach Patrick Robey afterward. “I just told our kids after the game that either in baseball or in life some things are learned the hard way. I told them there was not a whole lot to say about the importance in pitching of keeping the ball down in the zone. You have got to keep the ball down against a good hitting team like we faced today and I just hoped we learned our lesson.”

Ironically, South Panola, (5-2) had a chance to end the game via the 10-run mercy rule after scoring six runs in the fifth inning, but DaShawn Lindsey was thrown out at home plate for the third out. That started the Commodore comeback.

John Jeffery Nelson led off the top of the sixth with the first of five Lafayette home runs on the day. Leadoff hitter Luke Stanley then doubled off Tiger reliever Hunter Durham followed by Hunter Robinson’s two-run dinger to make the score 13-7. After a Josh Mills walk, Dylan Gossett and Tyler Mize greeted reliever Andrew Horne with back-to-back singles. Jeremy Liggins drilled a double that plated Mills. Liggins added a two-run double later in the inning for his fourth hit of the game.

Later in the inning, Stanley tied the game at 13-13 with a three-run home run off losing pitcher Blake Darby.

After Robinson was hit by a pitch, Mills gave the ‘Dores the lead for good with a two-run dinger to make the score 15-13. Mills would later add the final Lafayette runs  with a two-run homer in the seventh.

South Panola jumped to a 6-0 lead after three innings with four runs in the bottom of the first and two more in the third. Chris Townsend led off the bottom of the first with a walk followed by five consecutive walks by Mitchel Babb, Lee Self, Horne, Bobby Epps and Durham to give the home team a 4-0 lead.

The Tigers increased their lead to 6-0 in the third on Darby’s fielders’ choice RBI and a Tays Hardy run-scoring single.

Lafayette County, (3-3), finally got on the board with two runs in the top of the fourth off Tiger starting pitcher Self as Liggins and Nelson delivered RBI doubles.

South Panola sent 10 batters in a six-run fifth inning for a 13-4 lead. Babb’s two-run triple and Townsend RBI double keyed the inning. The Tigers added their last run in the sixth on Babb’s sacifice fly that plated Hardy who reached on a one-out double.

Epps and Durham led the Tigers at the plate with three hits apiece while Townsend, Babb, Horne, Self, and Hardy all collected two hits. Dardy chipped in with a fifth-inning single.

The Commodores racked up 24 hits in the game as Liggins and Stanley had four hits to lead the charge. Cody Gray pitched four innings in relief of Jerrett Patton to pick up the win on the mound.

In Friday night’s action, South Panola blanked Byhalia 14-0 as Will Daughtery spun a two-hitter to register the pitching victory. Self and Durham launched a pair of grand slam home runs to lead South Panola offensively. Townsend added a triple while Self also chipped in with a double and a single. Babb, Horne, Epps and Daughtery all singled in the win.

The Tigers are participating in the Cleveland Tournament this week.

There was no word Monday at press time whether the games were rained out. However, if they were played, the top two teams will play at 3:30 p.m., following the consolation game at 1 p.m.