Panthers ground Gophers, battle weather in baseball opener

The Pelham Panthers baseball team opened the 2010 season Feb. 15 with a win over the Hueytown Golden Gophers, but the team didn’t fare as well against the weather.

The Panthers were scheduled to play a double-header against the Gophers and Northridge, but the Northridge game was suspended in the first inning with Pelham leading 2-0 due to heavy snow.

In the opening win over Hueytown, the Panthers (1-0) used a four-run third inning to pull away from the Gophers and secure the 6-1 victory.

Tripp Martin and Trae Santos each homered in the third inning to give the Panthers the commanding lead.

Martin was 1-for-2 with three RBIs and Santos was 1-for-3, while Hunter Ragsdale was 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and Andrew Bishop was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

Santos (1-0) picked up the win for the Panthers, while Hueytown’s Jameis Winston took the loss.

“Anytime you can beat a team with that much baseball tradition, it’s a great way to get started off on the right foot to start the season,” said Pelham head coach Jeff Mauldin.

Although Mauldin said he was pleased with his team’s play offensively, he said he was extremely encouraged by the way Santos, a Jacksonville State University signee, battled on the mound.

“It’s encouraging for Trae,” said Mauldin of his senior pitcher who has been battling some nagging injuries. “His last three innings were dynamite.”

Santos threw six innings, gave up three hits and struck out eight batters.

The Panthers return to action Feb. 18 as they begin play in the Metro Area Tournament.

Pelham travels to Spain Park Feb. 18 for a 6:30 p.m. game before hosting Homewood Feb. 19 at 6:30 p.m.

The Panthers will play a doubleheaders in the tournament Feb. 20 at Thompson High School, with a 12:30 p.m. game against Mountain Brook and a 3 p.m. game against Thompson.

The Panthers will host Pinson Valley Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m. before the tournament championship game Feb. 24.