Case no-hits Pearl; Panthers in 7-0 victory

Published 8:15 pm Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Brookhaven senior pitcher Houston Case achieved a milestone Tuesday night on Moyer Field. He threw his first high school no-hitter against the region-leading Class 5A Pearl Pirates and the Panthers roared to a 7-0 triumph.

Case struck out 10 batters, hit 5 batters and walked 4. Pearl counterpart Zack Carter struck out 13 batters but the Pirates left 9 batters stranded on base as the Panthers played flawless defense.

“My defense played great behind me,” said Case, breathing deeply after running on the outfield grass to keep his muscles relaxed. “It was fun. I struggled early but I finally found it in the fourth. My slider was working well.”

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In the seventh, with the home crowd cheering every pitch, Case faced pinch-hitter and leadoff batter Kerry Thurman who was awarded first base on a catcher interference call by home plate umpire Jimmy Wright. He got the next batter, Carter, on a short fly ball to second baseman Peyton Clark. He struck out Alex Hatton for the second out and then got Parker Thurman on a ground ball to Clark who threw to first baseman Andrew Culver to end the game.

Case was mobbed by his teammates as they celebrated near the first base line. He has signed a scholarship with Hinds Community College.

“I got jinxed in the sixth,” Case revealed. “When Culver started warming up, somebody asked me, ‘Are they going to pull you when you have a no-hitter going?'”

Fortunately, the magic spell wasn’t broken and the Panthers avenged 2 previous losses to Pearl, now 12-10 overall and 6-1 in the region.

“We needed a pick-me-up,” said BHS head coach Randy Spring. “Houston did a great job against the division champ.”

Spring said that Case was limping slightly, due to a nagging hamstring injury. “He had really good stuff tonight.”

In a tight pitching duel, Case and Carter battled a gusting wind out of the southeast. Carter walked 3 batters, gave up 4 hits and 3 runs. He threw 115 pitches.

The Panthers took a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Michael Lambert beat out a grounder to deep short for the first hit of the game. Landon McCullough doubled over the center fielder’s head. The first run scored on a passed ball. Case’s sacrifice fly to center field plated the second run.

In the fifth, McCullough collected his second double of the game and later scored on a throwing error, making it 3-zip.

The Panthers jumped on Pearl relief pitchers Hayden Moore and Jimmy Boyd for 4 runs. Reed Jones delivered a 2-RBI single, making it 6-0. Case followed with an RBI double to center.

Coach Spring said his Panthers (10-11, 6-2) hope to make up a region road game with Jackson Wingfield on Thursday, weather permitting.