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Cadets and Bears knock down Panthers
Skylar Hoffer went 3 for 4 with a two run homer, a grand slam, a triple and 7 RBIs in Monday’s game against Pierce. - photo by Pat Watkins / Coastal Courier
Taking Hephizibah in 5 innings 14-0 Friday night, it looked as though the Panthers recovered from their brief slump.
Panther coach Steve Cotrell described the hitting Friday as probably the best for Panthers all season. Aaron Hoffer went 3 for 4 with a home run. Aaron Pringle went 1 for 2 with another homer and Justin Eaton added to the home runs by hitting one out of the park and going 1 for 2 in the night. Byron Calahan added to the runs going 2 for 3 and 3 RBIs. Ethan Pringle went 2 for 4 in the game.
Eaton took the win at the mound, pitching 4 innings, allowing 1 hit and striking out 3 batters.
Cotrell said it was the good performance of Eaton on the mound as well as the superb hitting that gave them the advantage and win against Hephzibah.
Hoping to cash in on momentum, the Panthers traveled to Savannah Saturday to play the Benedictine Cadets. But the fire and steam the Panthers displayed the night before was apparently left behind.
“All I can say is we were not mentally ready to play on Saturday,” Cotrell said. “We had other things on our minds and I was very disappointed in the overall performance from the team.”
Chris Arnold took the loss, pitching 3 innings, allowing 3 earned runs and six runs overall. Joe Watkins came in and shut the Cadets down with 3 strikeouts, 1 hit and no runs scored.
Aaron Hoffer went 2 for 2, Ethan Pringle was 1 for 3, Kendrick Jones was 1 for 3 and Eddie Chipple went 2 for 3 with 2 RBIs.
Facing the loss was hard enough. The Panthers knew they had a challenge in store as they traveled to Pierce County Monday afternoon to play the Bears.
Cotrell hoped his team was prepared mentally for the top seeded team in 2-AA. Although it was not a regional game for the 3S-AAA Panthers, the game looked like a title was on the line as they each battled out for the top score. In the end the Bear edged out a 1 point lead to close the game at 13-14. It was the Hoffer brothers who brought the game within reach. Aaron Hoffer hit a 3 run homer and finished the night going 2 for 3 and adding 4 RBIs. Skyler Hoffer was 3 for 4 with a 2 run homer, a grand slam, a triple and 7 RBIs.
“They were up 9-3 in the 4th and we hit a 3 run HR and cut it to 9-6,” Cotrell said.
The coach also said there was a very questionable call at the plate. A Bear was called out at the plate and the Bears’ coach disagreed. After a few minutes discussing the matter the field umpire suddenly overturned the call.
“That just fired our guys up even more,” Cotrell said. “They brought in their closer who had not given up an earned run all year and we put 7 runs on the board in the 6th to take the lead 13-10. In the seventh, I thought the umpire squeezed the zone on us and we had to throw the ball down the middle of the plate and when you are as good as they are at swinging the bat you are in trouble. But we came to life last night and that is exactly what I talk to the kids about. The frustrating thing was not the scoreboard, but where has that energy been the last couple of weeks. If we can lock in and be mentally ready the next few weeks we have a good chance at making a run in the playoffs.”
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