CARY — Despite giving up a six-run lead in the sixth inning that featured four errors, Panther Creek defeated Athens Drive 13-10 on Thursday.
Juniors Ross Moreau and Jordan Hockaday and senior outfielder Jordan Coatney combined for six hits and nine RBIs for the Catamounts in the home win.
After Panther Creek gained a six-run lead after a five-run third inning and a three-run fourth, the game looked all but over. Athens Drive trailed 10-4 headed into the sixth.
Turning point: Down six runs, the Jaguars didn’t back down. They chipped away at the Catamount lead, scoring six runs in the sixth.
After cutting the lead to 10-7, with two Jaguars on base, the Catamounts committed their third error of the inning on a routine infield fly.
Senior relief pitcher Jake Wilson got under the ball around the pitcher’s mound, and was soon joined by two other teammates, but none of the players called for the ball. Wilson’s attempted to field the ball at the last second but the ball rolled off of his glove as two Jaguar runners crossed the plate, cutting the lead to one run.
“I thought we lost focus toward the middle and last part of the game,” PC coach Daniel Hall said. “We didn’t execute on defense the way we normally do. That’s normally not a problem for us.”
“Somewhere along the line we got the error bug and we couldn’t let go of it.”
Athens Drive senior outfielder Steven Parrish later found the gap in left field to tie the score, but it wasn’t enough.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Panther Creek reclaimed the lead, 11-10 after a bases loaded walk. The following batter, Coatney, drove in two of his three RBIs.
The Catamounts stuck with Wilson, leaving him in to close out the game in the seventh
“You just have to forget about it and move on the next pitch,” Wilson. “Hopefully something good will happen instead of bad things.”
What worked: The Catamounts’ power hitting was the difference in the game, having two three-run innings and the big five-run fourth inning.
PC cranked out 12 hits compared to the Jaguars’ seven.
The contributions of Moreau, Coatney, Hockaday and sophomore Patrick Morton – who tallied three RBI in his only at bat of the game – was the deciding factor in the game.
“The thing I liked about our group is that they stayed persistent, especially offensively, and I feel like they battled at the plate and gave us a chance,” Hall said. “I can’t complain about our offensive approach, we should have just closed the game out earlier.”
Feeling the impact: Panther Creek (4-6, 3-5) and Athens Drive (2-8, 1-6) sit towards the bottom of the Tri-9 Conference standing, at No. 6 and No. 9, respectively.