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Panthers beat Bears
Win reverses long string of disappointments
Panther Dylan Connelly dives back to first as the pitcher tries to throw him out in Thursday’s 5-3 win over the Bears at home. Connelly came in to pitch in the seventh inning and earned the save. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon

All Panther Cody French wanted was to see his baseball team earn a win against the Pierce County Bears.

In 2008 the Bears got the upper hand on the Liberty boys twice. The same happened last season. This season the Panthers had already suffered a loss to Pierce on Feb. 26 when the Bears beat them 4-9.

On Thursday the Panthers hosted the Bears and French finally got his wish as the home team held off a seventh-inning rally, beating the Bears 5-3. A senior, French is benched with a non-sports related arm injury.

Panther pitcher Joe Watkins got the offense started early, hitting a three-run homer. Liberty carried a 3-1 lead into the third inning when Watkins hit another shot, allowing Cameron Harris to score.

Harris got an RBI in the fifth inning, bringing in Javaughn Shuman and going up 5-1.

Watkins pitched six innings and gave up only one hit and one run.

In the seventh, Panther Brandon Whitmore came in to relieve Watkins because of pitch count. Whitmore got one out, but through walks and shots to the gaps Pierce County scored two and had the bases loaded.

Whitmore was relieved by Dylan Connelly. He struck out the next batter, after first falling to a 3-0 count. And a pop fly to Antonio Smith at second sealed the Panther win.

Other Panther hitters were Matt Desbiens, who was 2 for 3, and Eddie Chipple, who had a double off the center field wall.

The Panthers host Appling County today at 5:30 p.m.

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