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Panthers lose after 10 innings (2-6)
Panther pitcher Chris Arnold throws a perfect strike in the sixth inning during a critical portion of the game. - photo by By Patty Leon / Coastal Courier
It was a long night Friday for the Liberty County Panthers and Statesboro Blue Devils until, after nearly four hours and ten innings, the Blue Devils broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the 10th by scoring four runs and earning a 2-6 victory.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” Panther coach Steve Cotrell said. “We made some errors in the 10th inning that killed us, otherwise we would gone an 11th inning.”
Cotrell said besides the 5 errors, three of which were in the last inning, the Panthers held the Blue Devils to no earned runs.
“Our pitching is great, our bats are a little behind, we just need to finish,” he said with a sigh.
The Panthers are deep at the mound and most of the pitching squad got a chance to throw against the Blue Devils.
Paul Davis started it off for 3-1/2 innings. Chris Arnold pitched until the eight. Joe Watkins pitched the ninth and then Eddie Chipple came in to start the ninth. After a few walks, Chipple was replaced by Henry Barrett to finish the game.
There were some tense minutes in the sixth inning when the Blue Devils had no outs and the bases loaded. But The Panthers pulled out a double play. Arnold struck out the next batter.
Another nail biter was when the Blue Devils had go-ahead run on third in the top of the seventh. There were two outs and the batter hit a low line drive. Chippled was able to stop the ball, get his balance and make the throw to first to get the out and keep the runner from scoring. It also forced the first of three extra innings.
Keeping everyone game-ready is essential, as the Panthers open their regional schedule against Burke County on March 21. They had hoped to get in one more makeup game against Jenkins on Monday, but due to St. Patrick’s Day it was cancelled.
“We are not quite where I wanted to be but we are getting there,” Cotrell said.
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