Sumter County Baseball Team shows improvement against Marion County, but still comes up short

Published 3:43 pm Thursday, March 24, 2022

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AMERICUS – After suffering an 18-0 drubbing the night before at the hands of Pike County, the #3-ranked team in the state in GHSA Class AAA, the Sumter County High School baseball team (SCHS) was hoping to rebound with a better showing and victory over the Eagles of Marion County (MC). However, though the Panthers had a better performance against the Eagles, it was not enough as MC defeated the Panthers 16-6 on Wednesday, March 23 at Thomas Bell Stadium.

In spite of the loss, SCHS Head Coach Lee Wright sees that his club is making positive progress. “It was a much better performance tonight. Some good things happened to us,” Wright said. “We swung the bats better. We put some guys on base. Guys got on base and they had a chance to score. We moved runners in. Defensively, I saw some better things that we hadn’t done. We cleaned it up in practice and they came back and executed this time. So overall, there were some good things.”

The Eagles scored three runs in the top of the first inning by taking advantage of a hit batsman, an error and an RBI double by Kaleb Powell, but the Panthers responded in the bottom of the first with three runs of their own to tie the game. Torrence Rush led off by drawing a walk and Jakory Wise reached when he was hit by a pitch from MC starting pitcher Ty Goodroe. Rush was thrown out trying to steal third base for the first out, but Koby Robinson was able to reach on an error by the MC third baseman and Wise was able to advance all the way to third. Braylon Taylor then reached due to a catcher’s interference call and the bases were loaded for Trashaun Brown. Wise then scored the Panthers’ first run of the game on a wild pitch and Brown followed up by reaching on another MC error that allowed both Taylor and Robinson to score, tying the game at 3-3.

Sumter County catcher Jakory Wise slides hone safely for one of the Panthers’ six runs against Marion County.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

However, errors plagued the Panthers as well in this game. With one out in the top of the second inning, Robert Way singled to put a runner on base for MC. Then Talan Welch reached on an error that allowed Way to score all the way from first base and Welch to advance to second. After SCHS starting pitcher Torrence Rush walked Will Penoncello to put runners on first and second for MC with one out, Clayton McDaniel reached on another SCHS error to load the bases for Austin Woodell. Fortunately for the Panthers, Rush was able to get Woodell to hit into a double play to end the threat, with the Eagles leading 4-3.

MC added three more runs in the top of the third inning on two hits and a sacrifice fly, but they also took advantage of a walk and another SCHS error. Then in the top of the fourth, MC scored five more runs on four hits and took advantage of two errors and a hit batsman, but the Panthers were able to turn a double play when MC left fielder Colten O’Neal hit a ground ball to SCHS second baseman Torey Smith, who stepped on second and threw to Justin Jones at first.

The Eagles added four more runs in the top of the fifth on two hits, two errors and three walks, but the Panthers got their bats going in the bottom half of the inning.

With two outs and a runner on third, Brian Williams reached on an error that allowed Koby Robinson to score. Then Justin Jones doubled to left, driving in Williams to make it 16-5 in favor of MC. Kentravius Dunning then reached on an error that allowed Jones to score the Panthers’ sixth run. Unfortunately for SCHS, that would be as close as they would get.

Sumter County pitcher Torrence Rush gave up 10 runs on 16 hits, walked four and struck out one batter in the Panthers’ 16-6 loss to Marion County.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Rush, who started on the mound for the Panthers, gave up 10 runs on 16 hits, with five of those runs being unearned. He walked four and struck out one over four innings of work. Trashaun Brown came on in the fifth in relief of Rush and gave up one run on no hits, while walking three and striking out one.

Justin Jones was the only Panther to get a hit in this game. That hit came in the bottom of the fifth when he drove in Brian Williams on an RBI double.

The Panthers (3-8) will step back into Region 2-AAA play when they travel up to Zebulon, GA on Friday, March 25 for a rematch against Pike County. First pitch is scheduled for 5:55 p.m.