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Lions overcome Panthers in seventh inning

Lions baseball

The Central High School baseball team poses for a photo after their victory against the Southside Panthers at Bloch Park in Selma on Saturday.

By Eason Franklin
The Lowndes Signal

Few moments in life are more exhilarating than watching the seventh inning of a neck-and-neck baseball game. Last Saturday was no different.

The Central High School baseball team (4-3) battled it out for the first time ever against the Southside Panthers for a 3-2 victory at Bloch Park in Selma on March 27.

Panther’s Coach Lamorris Jones commented on his team’s status (3-8).

“We’ve been off for one year and have six returning players,” said Jones. “This will be our first year playing Central, but I feel confident about today‘s game.”

As Central prepped themselves for their bout with the Panthers, all players were ready to take the field for what could be called a gut-wrenching game.

At the end of the first inning with Southside up 1-0, the boys from Central found themselves somewhat frustrated with their lack of hitting.

In a good defensive effort and trying to gain the lead, Central halted Southside from additional runs in the second and third innings.

Tensions were high as the game progressed to the top of the fourth until Earl Moore cracked a line-drive single and later scored, tying the game 1-1.

It was a battle of attrition when Southside scored another run in the fifth allowing them to lead the game through inning number six.

The field’s lights ignited as the air cooled and day turned to night, marking the beginning of the seventh inning.

Two batters from Central made their way to the plate, eyeing the ball for a game-changing opportunity.

However, the two were caught looking on third strike calls leaving the team with two outs at the top of the seventh.

Gripping the bat tightly, the next batter, ninth-grader DeUndre Rudolph made his way to the plate and readied himself for the Southside pitching.

In a stance signaling the possibility of a bunt, Rudolph forced pitcher, Michael Perryman, to throw the fourth ball allowing him a walk to first base.

Determined to keep the game going, the next two batters mimicked the same bunt-like stance as Perryman launched similar pitches, allowing them also to walk.

Shortstop Ken Gordon confidently made his way to the plate with bases loaded as two outs threatened the game’s outcome.

Coach Trent Woodley of Central pulled Gordon to the side of the field for encouragement as parents and fans cheered the player on.

Everyone in the stands were on the edge of their seats as Gordon stepped to the plate steadying himself for more of the potent Southside pitching.

Within a fraction of a second, the short-stop smacked the pitch for a double allowing Rudolph and teammate Marcus Wright to score.

All in attendance leapt to their feet as it was the Panther’s turn to bat with Central holding a 3-to-2 lead gong into the bottom half of the last inning.

Gordon, who had been moved to pitcher in a previous inning rocketed the ball over home plate and struck out the remaining three batters.

“It was a close game,” said Woodley. “The Panthers’ pitcher did an excellent job and we didn’t see a whole lot of hitting between the two teams.”