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Panthers suffer back-to-back losses
Panther shortstop Chris Arnold jumps over a Washington County player after tapping him out in Friday’s first of 2 back-to-back region battles. The Panthers lost to Washington 0-3. - photo by Photo by Pat Watkins

It was a tough weekend of region baseball for the Liberty County Panthers who traveled to Washington County on Friday and suffered 0-3 loss and hosted Thomson Saturday afternoon, losing 2-4.

Looking at both games Panther coach David Samuel said the struggle in both was the hitting.

"The thing that hurt us the most was inconsistent hitting," he said.

Against Washington County the Panthers left 6 runners on base, twice with runners at second and third.

"Tonight, Washington County’s pitcher kept my guys off balance and we did not get the key hit when we needed it most," Samuel said. "Joe Watkins remained hot for us by going 2-3 and Cameron Harris was also 2-3."

The coach said Justin Eaton pitched 6 solid innings on the mound allowing only 1 earned run.

"Justin’s pitching kept us in the game," he said. "Defensively we played well. Our defense committed 2 errors, but they ended up not being large mistakes."

The coach had his players report early on Saturday to get batting practice in before hosting Thomson.

But the Panthers didn’t get a hit until the 3rd inning when Cody French ripped a double to left field. From that point on the Panthers got 6 additional hits.

"I think the guys would play a little more relaxed if we could score a run in the 1st or 2nd inning," the coach said. "Cody and Chris Arnold each hit the ball well today and Joe Watkins added to his consistent hitting with 2 RBIs."

In the top of the 2nd, Watkins struck out 2 batters but walked Thomson’s 7th and 8th batter. The next Thomson batter hit a grounder and an error allowed an unearned run. The lead Bulldog batter hit in the next runner in to go up 2-0.

"Two out walks are difficult to handle, especially when they occur at the end of the lineup," the coach said. "The error then allowed Thomson to capitalize. Thomson’s 1-5 hitters did not score a run in the game. All 4 runs were scored by the last 4 men in the lineup."

Samuel said the bright spot is the Panther pitching squad. In 5 games they’ve allowed only 12 runs, averaging 2.4 runs per game.

"Usually in high school baseball if you only allow 2.4 runs a game, you will win most," Samuel said. "Joe and Eddie pitched great, giving up only 2 earned runs, striking out a total of 15 batters. They allowed only 7 hits."

Being 0-2 in the region is difficult, but the coach said his goal of finishing among the top squads is still attainable.

"I told the guys we are 0-2, but our goal of winning the region is still alive," he said. "Most of the region games have been 1, 2, or 3 run ballgames. From what I can tell, the region is balanced and anyone has a chance."

Friday stats:

Washington 3, Liberty Co. 0

Losing pitcher, Justin Eaton, 6 innings pitched, 5H (all singles), 4K, 2BB, 3R, 1ER

Hitters — Joe Watkins 2-3, Cameron Harris 2-3, Matt Desbiens 1-3

Saturday stats:

Thomson 4, LC 2

Losing pitcher Joe Watkins, 4IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, 9K, 3BB

Relief pitcher Eddie Chipple, 3IP, 1R, 0ER, 5K, 0BB

Hitters Chris Arnold 2-3, 12B, 2R, Cody French 2-4, 12B, Joe Watkins 1-2, 2RBI, Matt Desbiens and Cameron Harris, 1 hit each.

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