Backed into a corner, the Liberty County Panthers came out swinging.
The Panthers pounded 14 hits in their 12-9 Region 3-AAA south win against Richmond Hill Tuesday.
Every Panther batter had a hit and Skyler Hoffer led the team with three hits and a homerun.
The game, however, had Panther fans on the edges of their seats as Richmond Hill almost pulled off an improbable comeback.
The Panthers (8-11, 3-4) built a 12-3 lead after six innings and had chances to end the game early, but excellent fielding from the Wildcats (5-2 sub-region) kept Richmond Hill alive.
The Wildcats rallied in the seventh inning, scoring six runs. They had the go-ahead run at the plate with the bases loaded, but senior Erik Mattingly was able to get the batter to strikeout on a check swing to end the game.
Earlier in the inning, second baseman Kendrick Jones saved a few runs by turning a double play. With bases loaded and no outs, Jones fielded a short roller, tagged the runner going to second and threw to first baseman Byron Calahan.
Liberty County, knowing its postseason aspirations were on the line, wasted no time getting on the board against the Wildcats.
Senior Robert Walsh led off the bottom of the first inning with a single and Brad Harris followed with a bunt single. Then, senior Erik Mattingly scored both of them on a double to right field.
Mattingly would later score and Hoffer added the fourth run with a 335-foot homerun over the left field fence.
The Panthers added three more runs in the third inning. With runners on first and third and no outs, Walsh singled to left field, scoring two runs.
Liberty County scored five runs in the fourth inning, taking advantage of two Richmond Hill errors and getting two hits.
Ethan Pringle scored two runs with a single to left field and Brad Harris scored two runs with a triple to right field.
Richmond Hill’s Scott Strickland was charged with the loss. He pitched 2-1/3 innings.
Liberty County travels to Hephzibah (1-5 sub-region) on Friday for a 5 p.m. game and to Savannah on Saturday for a 1 p.m. game with Benedictine (3-4 sub-region).