Case pitches Panthers past McComb in first varsity start
Brookhaven freshman pitcher Houston Case took a deep breath,exhaled, swallowed hard and got rid of the butterflies Tuesdaynight. Making his first varsity start, Case handcuffed the McCombTigers with a 2-hitter and the Panthers roared to an 11-1 victoryover their archrivals in a key Region 5-5A showdown on MoyerField.
Case, a slender right-hander with a deceptive curveball, struck outthree batters and walked one as his teammates played near-flawlessdefense. The Panthers broke open a close game with 5-run fourth andfifth innings. Brandon Foster’s 2-RBI single down the right fieldline evoked the 10-run mercy rule.
Asked if he was nervous before the game, Case said, “I hadbutterflies and I didn’t eat supper. I’m going toMcDonald’s.”
Case praised his teammates. “Our team played real well on defenseand they hit the ball behind me, too.”
The Panthers, plagued by injuries, raised their record to 13-9overall and 6-3 in the region race, securing second place and aberth in the state playoffs. McComb, 4-5 in the region, hosts thePanthers Friday night in their final meeting of the regularseason.
Ole Brook head coach Randy Spring smiled and said, “Houston Casepitched well. We were in a bind. We have had some young pitchersplay well.”
Foster, a senior southpaw who anchors the pitching staff, has beenslowed by tendonitis in his shoulder. Junior right-hander J.D.Britt suffered a broken right thumb during last Saturday’s gameagainst North Pike. Britt might return for the state playoffs intwo weeks.
“We hope to have some more healthy bodies by Friday,” said Spring.”This win should give us some confidence.”
Case and McComb junior right-hander Trey Terrell were locked in atight pitching duel until the fourth. Terrell (1 K, 2 BB) wastagged for 11 runs and 11 hits. He hit three batters.
In the fourth, the Panthers exploded for five runs. Scottie Peavey,boasting a .600-plus batting average, led off with a triple toright-center field. Gabe Wilson followed with a sharp single tocenter for an RBI and a 2-1 BHS lead. Zach Halliwell was hit by apitch and Brice Huckaby singled to right, loading the bases. J.B.Perkins delivered a 2-RBI single and it was 4-1. Patrick Valentineprovided an RBI grounder and Dillon Newell hit a sacrifice fly tocenter, giving his team a 6-1 advantage.
In the fifth, Halliwell launched a 2-run homer down the left fieldline and it was 8-1. Huckaby scored the ninth run on adouble-steal. Terrell hit two more batters before Foster deliveredthe game-ender.
In a pregame ceremony, former volunteer assistant coach DwayneOberschmidt was recognized for his 11 years of service to the teamand presented a game jersey with a No. 11 on it. The annual PantherAward, presented at the team’s banquets, has been renamed theDwayne Oberschmidt Award.