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Panthers clobber their way past Burke County

Ten Perry hitters helped account for 18 hits as the Panthers beat Burke County Thursday in the deciding game three of the two schools’ GHSA Class AAAA state tournament opener.

The Panthers won 17-7 in seven innings. They scored three in the first, two in the second and four in the third to go up 8-0.

The Bears made a little noise on the basepaths in the fourth but could only get one out of it. Even if they had done more damage, Perry was ready with an answer. It scored two more in the top of the fifth, two in the sixth and five in the seventh.

Burke County also scored two in the fifth, three in the sixth and one in the seventh.

Andrew Newhouse had five of the Panthers’ hits – a perfect day at the plate in which he drove in one and scored twice.

Lane Rucker was 3-4 with three RBIs and two scored, Colby McCleese 1-2 with two driven in and Cash Mashburn 1-4 with a walk, two RBIs and two scored.

Perry used four pitchers in the effort. Wade Gordon fared best. He started and worked three innings of no-hit ball. He struck out one and walked two.

The Panthers improved to 11-19 with the win. The Bears, who came in as the No. 1 seed from Region 3 – Perry is the No. 4 out of Region 2 – finished their year 15-7.

Perry moves on to play Northside, Columbus. It, the No. 3 out of Region 1, upset Eastside, the No. 2 out of Region 4 in two games – 8-1, 10-0.

That series is set for May 2 – a doubleheader – and May 3, if necessary.

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