After eking out a one-run win over Baldwin County, the Liberty County High School Panther baseball squad heads to Griffin on Friday to take on Spalding High School.
The 7-6 win against the Braves in eight innings Friday set the tempo Panther coach David Samuel said he wants for his squad come game time in round one.
"The Baldwin game felt like a playoff game because of the back and forth momentum swings," Samuel said. "I was proud of my team because they faced tough situations time after time and continued to battle through them without getting discouraged."
It took 4 innings before either team scored and the Panthers pounced first with 4 runs in the top of the inning. The Braves scored three in the 4th and tied the game in the 5th inning.
The Panthers added 2 runs, but Baldwin tied the game again at 6.
Neither team scored in the 7th inning.
In the top of the 8th inning, Panther Chris Arnold hit a solo- home run. Panther pitcher Eddie Chipple faced a Braves batter with the bases loaded and 2 outs.
"Eddie pitched through the stress and nerves and got Baldwin’s batter to hit a lazy fly ball to Brandon Whitmore at second base with the bases loaded to end the game," Samuel said.
Spalding High is 19-4 overall and 13-3 in region 4-AAA. Game one of Friday’s double-header starts at 3 p.m. If the teams split victories, the tie-breaker will be Saturday.
The Panthers are 13-10 overall and 7-5 in region 3-AAA.
"We are one of 32 teams left, and I feel we have a good shot at going through the playoffs," Samuel said. "Anything can happen. The team that is better prepared and ready to play intense baseball will take the series. I’m excited to get the playoffs going."
LC 7, Baldwin 6 in 8 innings
Winning pitcher, Eddie Chipple, 3IP, 1H, 3K
Starting pitcher, Joe Watkins, 3 2/3 IP, 6H, 2K
Relief pitcher, Brandon Whitmore 1 1/3IP, 1H, 1K
Leading Hitters, Chris Arnold 2-5, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI, Dylan Connelly 1-4, 2 RBI, Chris Rafferty 1-1, 1 RBI, Zach Hensley 1-2, Justin Eaton 1-2, 1 2B and Eddie Chipple 1-4