Panthers edge Oak Mountain

By TREY HICKMAN / For the Reporter

NORTH SHELBY — The Oak Mountain Eagles baseball team could be wondering what might have been following its 2-1 loss at the hands of Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A, Region 10 rival Pelham on April 6.

The Panthers (28-1 overall, 4-0 in region play) didn’t have to face injured David Dahl, the Eagles’ star outfielder and a likely first-round pick come Major League Baseball’s June draft. In the end, Thomas Lowery had outdone fellow starting pitcher Nick Bietighofer, and Fletcher Johnson’s run following an infield single by Sam Finnerty proved the game-winner for Class 6A’s No. 1-rank team.

“It was a very close game and, you know, one of their best players wasn’t playing, so we were going into the game expecting to, you know, put a little more pressure on them and score a few more runs,” said Lowery. “Their pitcher did a great job and it just turned out to be a duel. Great team win.”

With two outs, the score knotted at 1-1 and Johnson standing on second in the top of the seventh, Finnerty forced a rushed throw on his hit, resulting in a passed ball at first base on which Johnson advanced from third for the go-ahead score. Reliever Parker Curry followed by tossing the second of his two scoreless innings of relief to seal the Pelham win.

Lowery (7-0) struck walked five, surrendered two hits, allowed one earned run and struck out eight in his five innings of work. Finnerty paced the Pathers’ offense with a 2-for-3 effort, including an RBI double. Johnson matched Finnerty with a 2-for-3 night of his own, banging out a pair of singles in the victory.

For Oak Mountain (13-14 overall, 0-4 in region play), Nick Bietighofer (4-2) yielded five hits, struck out four and gave up two runs (both unearned) in a complete-game performance. Cameron Bice went 2-for-2 with a couple of singles. Heath Quinn was 1-for-1 and Tyler Lee notched an RBI for the Eagles.