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St. Stanislaus shaves Panthers in regional opener

MONTICELLO — St. Stanislaus pitcher Tyler Henry used his arm,his bat and his legs to win Thursday’s opener in the Class 4ALawrence County Regional. Henry pitched a 6-hitter and struck out11 batters, helping the Rock-A-Chaws edge Brookhaven’s Panthers 4-3at Jimmie Davis Park.

At the plate, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Henry went 3-for-4. Hescored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh, racing homefrom third on a throwing error.

St. Stanislaus (21-6) plays the winner of the LawrenceCounty-Poplarville game today at noon. Brookhaven (23-6) plays theloser of last night’s finale at 3 p.m. in the double-eliminationtournament.

Henry (10-2), a Mississippi Gulf Coast Community Collegescholarship signee, dueled Ole Brook senior Brandt Hinton on a hot,sweat-soaked afternoon. Tyler threw 144 pitches but remained in thegame. He walked 3 batters and hit 1.

St. Stanislaus coach Mark Logan said he was relieved to escapewith a narrow victory. “If I didn’t have gray hair before, now Ido.”

Logan said Henry is a leader on his team. “Tyler didn’t have hisbest (pitches) today but he battled. He started slow but he foundit (rhythm) in the middle. I know he threw 144 pitches but he saidhe felt OK.”

In the bottom of the seventh, Henry slapped an opposite fieldsingle with 1 out. Stephen Keel advanced him with a single tocenter. With 2 away and freshman James Abraham at the plate, aHinton wild pitch got by catcher Mitch Pappas who tried to nailHenry at third base. But he overthrew Newell and Henry raced homewith the decisive run.

“It was frustrating,” said Ole Brook coach Randy Spring. “We duga hole early in the game but we almost climbed out of it. We didn’tmake a couple of plays and that cost us the game.”

Ole Brook began solving Henry’s pitches in the last 3 innings.He had limited the Panthers to just 1 hit, a fourth-inning singleby Josh Coone.

The Panthers erased a 3-0 deficit. They got 1 run back in thesixth. Paxton King led off with a single that fell in short leftfield. Newell followed with a bad-hop double over the secondbaseman. King made a head-first slide across home plate, scoringhis team’s first run.

In the top of the seventh, Ole Brook scored twice. Zach Watsonwas hit by a pitch, Elliot Warren hit a hopper over second base andGarion Crockett drew an intentional walk to load the bases. Anerror by the second baseman allowed the second run to score.Newell’s grounder pushed home Warren with the third run, gaining a3-3 deadlock.

Ole Brook nearly took the lead. Coone crushed a Henry pitch thatsailed to the center field wall where Abraham made a leapingcatch.

“That catch against the center field wall was a big play forthem,” said Spring. “Josh hit the ball hard.”

Kleinpeter gave the Rocks an early lead with 2-out solo homer inthe second. They plated a second run in the fourth when Hintonthrew wide of first base.

In the fifth, Blake Whitman hit a sharp single which glanced offthe right cheek of Warren who was playing shortstop. Kleinpeterscored on the play and it was 3-0.

Hinton (6-1), a Copiah-Lincoln Community College signee,absorbed his first loss. He gave up 11 hits, struck out 8 battersand walked none.