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Vancleave sweeps Brook

The Vancleave Bulldogs swept Brookhaven’s Panthers in theopening round of the Class 5A state playoffs. They posted a 7-3Friday night home victory and then made the bus ride to LincolnCounty for a sweat-soaked 15-13 Saturday afternoon triumph on MoyerField.

Vancleave (13-11), the No. 3 seed out of Region 8, advances to thesecond round. The Panthers, No. 2 seeds in Region 5-5A end theirseason at 14-13.

In an injury-plagued, up and down season, the Panthers gave agallant effort Saturday but fell short of their goal in the best-ofthree series.

Vancleave 7, Brookhaven 3

With two batters retired and the bases loaded, the Bulldogs ralliedfor four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to secure theopening round win.

J.D. Britt (6 K, 5 BB) absorbed the loss, pitching a 5-hitter. Abase on balls pushed home the lead run and the next two battersdelivered RBI singles.

“J.D. really pitched well and or kids played hard,” said BHS bossRandy Spring.

Winning pitcher Stuart Holmes, a Southeastern Louisiana Universitysignee, allowed 3 runs on 5 hits. The crafty southpaw fanned 8batters and walked 5. He also had 2 of his team’s 5 hits.

Gabe Wilson and Drew Jones each had 2 hits for the Panthers, plusan RBI apiece. J.D. Perkins singled.

The Bulldogs got 2 singles from Holmes. In the second inning,Vancleave’s Nick Hodges hit a line drive to center field that gotpast the fielder, allowing 2 unearned runs to score.

“We had a few jitters in the first inning, but once we shook thoseoff and _Stuart (Holmes) was able to settle down and get controland command of the_ game, we started to play well,” said Bulldogscoach Michael Henry. “We got_ some timely hits there in the sixth.We’ve said all year long that if we_ could get some timely hitsthat we would be pretty good, but we’ve got to _continuethat”

Vancleave 15, Brookhaven 13

The Bulldogs got off to a fast start and a claimed a 3-0 lead inthe top of the first. Leadoff batter Colin Bryant greeted BHSpitcher Dillon Newell with a first-pitch homer that cleared theleft-center field fence.

The second batter, Zac Haarala, was hit by a pitch. Stuart Holmessingled to left and Lee Atwood followed with an opposite field, RBIsingle that made it 2-0. Senior Scottie Peavey replaced Dillon onthe mound. Shea Lutkins slapped an RBI single to left and it was3-zip.

The Panthers plated 1 run in the bottom of the first. Leadoffbatter J.B. Perkins smashed a triple to the base of the centerfield fence off starting hurler Lucas Hodges. Peavey’s sacrificefly to deep center field made it 3-1.

Designated hitter Gabe Wilson went 5-for-5 despite leg injury.Peavey hit a homer and finished with 3 hits as he collected 4RBIs

“We had several guys playing hurt the last couple of weeks,” saidSpring.

“Gabe Wilson shouldn’t have been playing but he had five hits anddrove in two runs.”

It became a survival of the fittest and luckiest as the teamsbattled to a 9-9 deadlock in the late innings. The Bulldogs plated5 runs in the top of the seventh and took a 15-11 lead.