Vancleave gets key hits to clip Panthers

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 21, 2003

Brookhaven and Vancleave opened their best-of-three series inthe South 4A state playoffs Thursday night at Moyer Field. TheBulldogs, the Division 8-4A runner-up, made keys plays throughoutthe evening to garner an 8-2 win over the homestandingPanthers.

Game 2 of this series is being played today at Vancleave. Thefirst pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Vancleave 8, Brookhaven 2

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Both teams went 1-2-3 in the opening innings.

Vancleave (26-3) opened the scoring in top of the second takinga 1-0 lead. First baseman Jake Mizelle doubled. Two batters later,leftfielder Drew Holmes’ sacrifice fly to right scored Mizelle.

The Bulldogs, coached by Hayden Cox, increased their lead to 3-0in the third. Walter Pennington walked. Brent Martin singled andstole second. Pennington would score on a passed ball, while Martinwould advance to third. Ty Summerlin sacrifice fly to centerfieldscored Martin.

Cox’s ballclub continued the scoring in the fourth with 3 runsfor a 6-0 cushion, sending 8 batters to the plate. Mizelle walked.Ronnie Wheat walked. Holmes grounded to the Panther pitcher ReggieSmith whose throw to third forced Mizelle out. Nathan Smith doubledto score Wheat. Pennington’s single scored Holmes and Smith.

Brookhaven (22-9), the Division 6-4A champions, got on thescoreboard in the bottom of the fourth trailing 6-1.

Justin Sykes singled. Brooks Hall grounded to third, with theBulldogs throwing Sykes out at second. Adam Ogden washit-by-a-pitch. Scotty Smith reached on a fielding error byVancleave that allowed Hall to score.

Vancleave added a pair of runs in the fifth and sixth. CaseySummerlin doubled and scored on a RBI single by Holmes in thefifth. Pennington scored in the sixth.

The Panthers tacked on a run in the bottom of the seventh. CoreySmith singled. Two batters later, Josh Anderson singled. Smith andAnderson would advance to third and second respectively on balk bythe Bulldog pitcher. Reggie Smith reached on a fielding error,allowing Corey Smith to score.

“They made the plays and we didn’t,” said Panther head coachRandy Spring. “Vancleave has a solid ballclub.”

Anderson paced Brookhaven with a double and a single.

Reggie Smith (4-4) took the loss for the Panthers, allowing 8earned runs on 7 hits. He walked 5 and struck out 8 in a completegame effort.

Pennington led Vancleave with 3 singles, a run scored and 2RBIs.

“We swung the bats average tonight,” said Cox following thegame. We left too many men on base.” Cox was referring to hisballclub leaving 6 runs stranded on base.

Nathan Smith (8-1) authored the win for the Bulldogs. Smithtossed 7 innings in allowing 6 hits. He struck out 6 Brookhavenhitters and allowed 2 unearned runs.