Just two weeks ago, the Liberty County High School baseball team’s record sat at 2-6 overall. The Panthers’ season blossomed quickly, though, and LCHS is now 6-6 overall and, more importantly, 3-2 in Region 3-AAA. The Panthers wiped their slate clean after a tough loss March 19 to West Laurens. Since then, the team has logged four consecutive wins, including a 7-5 non-region victory Wednesday over Bryan County.
The Panthers came alive in the third inning, according to coach David Samuel. Cameron Harris got things started with a base hit. Eddie Chipple followed with a double and an RBI. Joe Watkins walked, and the Panthers had two runners on base. Cody French stepped up to the plate and crushed the ball over the left-field fence for a three-run homer, closing the third inning up 4-1 over the Redskins.
The Panthers scored more runs in the fifth when Harris hit a double and Matt Desbiens cleared another homerun over the centerfield wall, bringing in two runs. In the sixth inning, Dylan Connelly got a base hit to bring in Javaughn Shuman, who reached on a fielder’s choice.
The Panthers’ solid hitting helped, but Samuel said the difference in the game was on the mound.
"(Chris) Rafferty did a good job of keeping the Bryan County hitters down," the coach said. "He only walked two batters, which allowed our defense to play and stay in the game. Every coach tells their pitchers to throw strikes and Chris did that for five solid innings. He should get a lot of credit for his performance tonight."
Samuel said French came in during the sixth inning and did a good job. Watkins came in at the end of the game, faced two batters and shut them both down.
"I was happy with last night’s game," the coach said. "The pitchers did a wonderful job, our defense was solid and we got some key hits to take momentum away from Bryan County at times. We have won four in a row now and look forward to traveling to WACO on Saturday to make it five in a row."
The Panthers play Washington County at 1 p.m. tomorrow.
LCHS 7, BC 5
WP – Chris Rafferty – 5IP, 7H, 5R, 4ER, 2BB, 1K, Cody French – 1IP, 3H, 1BB, Save – Joe Watkins – 1IP, 2K
Leading hitters – Eddie Chipple 2-3, 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI; Cody French 2-4, HR, 3 RBI; Cameron Harris 2-4, 2R; Matt Desbiens 1-4, HR, 2 RBI; Dylan Connelly 1-3, 1 RBI