Pelham wins five in five days

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 3, 2007

After beginning the year on a sea-saw win-loss track, the Pelham Panthers have won five straight as they enter the second half of their area schedule. The Panthers took three games over the weekend, beginning with a 12-0 shutout at Thompson on Friday and wins over No. 1 Hoover, 6-4, and Hewitt-Trussville, 7-6, on Saturday.

&8220;I&8217;ve told them all year it&8217;s not how you start it&8217;s how you finish, and we&8217;re heading to the finish line right now. I think we&8217;re playing some good baseball at the right time,&8221; head coach Jeff Mauldin said.

A three-run home run led Hueytown to a 3-1 victory over the Panthers on March 23. Since then Pelham evened their Class 6A, Area 10 record with a 17-0 shutout of Jackson-Olin last Tuesday and defeated Shades Valley, 12-1, on Wednesday.

The scoring continued Friday, as Reid Aldridge sparked the offense with a third inning grand slam to put the Panthers up 4-0 early.

&8220;That allowed us to relax a little bit and helped give Wesley (Rich) some confidence,&8221; Mauldin said.

Rich went on to complete the game with a three-hit shutout, gaining confidence with every batter faced, as he struck out eight of his last nine batters to finish with 12 strikeouts and four walks.

&8220;To me he showed a lot of character and what kind of person he was to bounce back from what could have been a devastating loss (to Hueytown) and come back to throw a great game in what was really a must win for our season,&8221; Mauldin said.

Rich helped himself with his bat, collecting two RBIs with a 2-for-3 night from the plate. Aldridge added another RBI with a double, late in the game. Catcher Heath McGuirk and Brandon Ricco also collected a pair of hits in the game, as McGuirk drove in two runs.

&8220;It&8217;s the biggest win of our season,&8221; Mauldin said. &8220;Winning the game we go from what could have been a horrible situation to a great situation.&8221;

The Panthers (13-13) entered last night&8217;s game at Hueytown tied for first place with the Gophers and Thompson in Area 10 at 2-1. They host the Warriors next Tuesday