Liberty County High School baseball coach David Samuel said he wanted his team to maintain the intensity the Panther squad displayed against Johnson on Wednesday as the Liberty team hosted Pierce County on Thursday night.
However, the coach said the Bears’ pitcher, Michael Walsh, kept his batters off balance for six innings.
"We came up with a rally, but it was too late," he said. "I need our guys to come out with intensity from the first pitch. In the 3rd inning, we had the bases loaded with no one out, and we got no runs. We had a ground-out to short, then a fly ball to center field, which led to a poor base running decision that got us thrown out at home by 15 feet."
The Panthers’ rally in the 7th inning started with a double by Joe Watkins who missed clearing the wall by inches in left center field. Brandon Whitmore’s hit advanced Watkins to third. Zach Hensley hit a sacrifice fly to allow Watkins to score the only run for the Panthers.
Dylan Connelly hit to the Bears’ shortstop who tossed the ball to second and tagged Whitmore.
"Cameron Harris got hit by a pitch to put runners at 1st and 2nd with two outs," the coach explained. "Cody French stepped up to the plate and connected for a long fly ball that the center fielder tracked down just in front of the 380 sign in center field for the 3rd out."
The Panthers were set to hit the road for a three-hour ride to play Baldwin County on Friday.
On May 8, they head to Griffin for the first round of playoffs against Spalding High School.
Pierce County 3,
Liberty County 1
Losing pitcher: Justin Eaton, 5IP, 1H, 4K, 5BB
Leading hitters: Zach Hensley 1-2, 1RBI, Joe Watkins 1 2B, Brandon Whitmore 1B, Cameron Harris 1B, Dylan Connelly 1B, Justin Eaton 1B and Cody French 1B