Panthers eliminate Lamar from 1A baseball playoffs
By Drake Horton, Contributing Writer
The Lamar Silver Foxes baseball team’s quest for the 1A state championship came to end this past Tuesday, May 9, to one of its region rivals, the McBee Panthers, by a score of 3-2.
Playing on the road in McBee, Lamar was its own worst enemy, committing four errors in the second and third innings that led to all of the Panthers three runs for the entire game.
“I felt like we might have been playing a little tight and that happens in playoff baseball, nobody wants to make an error, they want to make a play and just get tight a little bit,” Lamar head coach Adam Windham said. “It came down to they made the plays they had to make and we didn’t and they capitalized on our mistakes and good teams are going to do that.”
Up 2-0 and everything appearing to be in cruise control mode, Lamar committed three straight errors in the bottom of the second inning, all with two outs, resulting in McBee’s first run of the game.
The first error came by second baseman Cameron Galloway, who bobbled a ground ball giving the Panthers a base runner.
The second and third errors came on the next batter as Silver Fox shortstop Ace James let the ball roll completely under his glove as did left fielder Jaquez Lucas, allowing McBee to score its first run of the game.
McBee took the lead in the bottom of the third with a RBI double and RBI groundout, but an error earlier in the inning set up both scores as the batter that reached on the error scored on the double and the RBI groundout would have actually been the third out of the inning instead of the second.
The Silver Foxes jumped up on McBee quickly in the top of the first inning, scoring two runs.
After a single by Lucas and a double by Jadarius Munford, McBee’s starting pitcher balked in the first run of the game, followed by a RBI sacrifice fly by Tyler Twiford to give the Silver Foxes a quick 2-0 lead.
The offense dried up for Lamar after the top of first, as the Silver Foxes were unable to get any more base runners past second.
“We kind of changed our approach after the first inning for some reason,” Windham said. “We started trying to yank the breaking ball instead of waiting on it and hitting it the other way or up the middle. We just didn’t have great swings; we had 2-0 counts several times and hit weak fly balls. Our approach wasn’t great after the first inning and that hurt us a little bit.”
Another big problem for Lamar’s offense was outside of the first inning when Lucas singled to start the game, every leadoff hitter for the next six innings failed to reach, limiting what the Silver Foxes could do from a strategy standpoint.
Lamar finishes with an overall record of 21-9 while making it to its third upper state championship in the past five years.