Oak Grove clips Panthers

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 23, 2001

Oak Grove and Brookhaven had a lot at stake Friday night, atMoyer Field. It was the second game in the best-of-three series inthe opening round of the South 4A state playoffs.

A Brookhaven win would sent the series back to Oak Grove for adeciding third game, while an Oak Grove victory would close thebooks on the 2001 season for the Panthers.

In a defensive contest, Oak Grove posted 2 runs in the sixthinning and went on to defeat Brookhaven 4-1. The Warrior win endedthe Panther’s season at 18-9.

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Oak Grove advances to the second round of the playoffs. Theywill meet the winner of the St. Martin/South Jones series. Thatbest-of-three series begins on Thursday, at a site to bedetermined.

Oak Grove 4, Brookhaven 1

“We started out a little lackadaisical in the first 4innings,” said 32-year Warrior head coach HarryBreland.

Both teams produced outstanding defensive efforts.Starting pitchers James McCall of Brookhaven and Chase Blakenshipof Oak Grove were in charge of their respectivearsenals.

Brookhaven would produce their only run and hits of thegame in the second. Shortstop Cayce Wallace singled. Catcher AaronOberschmidt reached on an error. Second baseman Daniel Boysgrounded into a fielder’s choice, forcing Oberschmidt out atsecond. Rightfielder Miguel Banks singled to score Wallace fromthird and the Panthers held the 1-0 advantage.

Oak Grove (25-4) tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth.Centerfielder Drew Robinson doubled. Two batters later, secondbaseman Justin Gros singled to score Robinson.

Robinson paced the Warrior attack with a double, atriple, 2 runs scored and a RBI.

The Warriors, ranked No. 4 in the final regular seasonAP poll, would the lead at 3-1 in their half of the sixth. Thebaseman Bailey Hartel singled and moved to second on an error. Twobatters later, Robinson’s triple scored Hartel. Rightfielder MarcMaddux singled, scoring Robinson.

“The momentum seemed to shift our way,” said Breland.Breland was referring to the 2 runs that his ballclub scored in theinning.

Oak Grove would add an insurance run in the seventh.Pinch hitter Sam Thomas singled. Designated hitter Joe Thrashsingled. Shortstop Brad Ward singled up the middle to scoreThomas.

“No one thing stood out, but Oak Grove took advantage ofopportunities that were presented to them,” said Panther head coachRandy Spring following the game. “That is a sign of a very goodballclub.”

Blakenship went the distance in picking up his sixth winof the season against no losses. He allowed 1 earned run on 2 hits.He walked 6 and fanned 6 Brookhaven batters. Blakenship threw 132pitches.

“Chase started out a little slow,” added Breland. “Hegot stronger as the game went on. This was his best game of theyear.”

McCall (7-2) suffered the loss for the Panthers. Hethrew 6.1 innings allowing 4 earned runs on 8 hits. He issued onebase-on-balls and struck out 4. Justin Sykes pitched the final 2/3innings, giving up no runs, no hits or walks.