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Panthers lose series to West Laurens; Bears pull away late from Tift Co

The Perry Panthers battled West Laurens in a critical region home contest yesterday evening that the Panthers needed to win to even the series at one a piece going into this afternoon’s final game between these two teams. Perry was unable to pick up the win yesterday as they fell 3-2 to the Raiders and have now lost the season series.

The game started out scoreless in the first 1 1/2 innings before the Panthers plated their first run on a West Laurens passed ball in the bottom half of the second to lead 1-0. The Raiders tied the game up at one via a Jayden Todd sacrifice fly deep to center and would later take a 2-1 lead via an error in the top half of the third.

West Laurens plated a third run in the top half of the fourth via a Tucker brown rbi double. Perry cut the lead down to one in the bottom half of the sixth via a Raider error to trail 3-2 heading into the seventh inning.

The Panthers were unable to get runners on base in the bottom half of the seventh & West Laurens defeated Perry 3-2 to take the region series which will likely give the Raiders the region title but there is a good amount of baseball left to play.

Colter Ginn had the Panthers’ lone rbi of the game as SP Cooper Edwards surrendered three runs (one earned) on three hits, walked four, and struck out seven in five innings of work. Miles Jones came in relief of Edwards and allowed no runs on no hits, walked one, and struck out two in two innings of relief work.

Jayden Todd and Tucker Brown were responsible for the Raiders’ two rbis as their SP Camden Thomas allowed two runs (neither earned) on four hits, walked two, and struck out five in a complete game on the mound. Perry had four hits and committed two errors while West Laurens had three hits and also committed two errors.

These two teams are set to square off later this afternoon in Dexter at 4pm to finish the region series. The Panthers are currently 18-5 overall; 9-2 in region play while West Laurens is currently 17-3 overall; 10-0 in region play.

Elsewhere, the HoCo Bears returned home from North Carolina to host the Tift Co Blue Devils in a big time region contest yesterday evening that resulted in a Bears victory 10-4. HoCo struck first in the bottom half of the second when Ethan Buffone hit a bunt single that ran in Hunter Chiappetta to give the Bears a 1-0 lead. A second run would come in via a Blue Devil error.

The game remained at 2-0 in favor of the Bears going into the top half of the fourth where Tift Co tied the game at two via a Mac Brooks two rbi single that ran in Brady Moretz and Tyler Holmes. The Blue Devils took a 3-2 lead via a Tyler VanSumeran rbi double that ran in Mac Brooks. This was only the second home game where HoCo trailed thus far in 2023.

The Bears would answer quickly in the bottom half of the fourth when Eli Stephens tied the game at three with a rbi single that ran in Hunter Chiappetta and retook the lead 4-3 via a Drew Burress walk that ran in Ethan Buffone. The game would remain at 4-3 HoCo going into the bottom half of the sixth where the Bears would blow the game open.

In the bottom half of the sixth with one out on the board; Andrew Dunford hit a two rbi single that ran in Vick Gann and Drew Burress to extend the HoCo lead to 6-3. Later that inning…. starting pitcher Ryker Chavis was put in to bat with the bases loaded after Ty Waters had been batting for him and he sent the ball deep to left into the trees for a grand slam that gave the Bears a 10-3 lead and essentially put the game away.

The Blue Devils plated a run in the top half of the seventh via a passed ball but that is all Tift Co would get as HoCo finished off the game and won 10-4 in the first of three region contests. Bears SP Ryker Chavis allowed four runs (one earned) on 10 hits, walked one, and struck out six in 6 2/3 innings of work. The grand slam was Chavis’ first career varsity home run.

The Blue Devils pitchers combined to allow 10 runs (nine earned) on 13 hits, walked four, and struck out three. Ryker Chavis led HoCo in rbis with four followed by Andrew Dunford with two and Eli Stephens, Drew Burress, and Ethan Buffone with one each. Mac Brooks led Tift Co in rbis with two followed by Tyler VanSumeran with one.

The Bears had 13 hits and committed one error while the Blue Devils had 10 hits and committed four errors. HoCo improved to 20-4 overall; 10-0 in region play while Tift Co fell to 20-3 overall; 8-2 in region play. These two teams will face-off again tomorrow in a doubleheader at Tift Co High School.

Perry also fell to West Laurens on Monday 5-3 after the Raiders scored two runs in the bottom half of the sixth.

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