Panthers cruise by visiting Tigers in second game of doubleheader

By JORDON SEMIEN/For the Reporter

PELHAM — Forecasted rain held off on March 15 as The Pelham Panthers varsity baseball team played host the Auburn High School Tigers in a doubleheader. The Panthers’ pitching staff was on lock all day as they pitched two shutout games, winning game one 6-0, and closing out the day with a 3-0 victory.

Game two featured Pelham’s Cole Whitman taking the mound against Auburn’s John Alan Grubbs, but Auburn emptied the bullpen for the night, turning to a total six pitchers in the game.

Whitman and Grubbs kept a pitchers duel going for an inning and a half of work, both getting a strikeout in the first inning. Auburn’s pitching first substitution to Zach Pope came in the second inning, and the trend would continue throughout the game.

Whitman put on a pitching exhibition for the fans in Bobby Hayes Stadium, keeping the Tiger offense at bay until the Panthers could strike. The first runs of the game came in the bottom of the fifth, as Pelham senior Parker Bentley took advantage of a bases load jam for pitcher Andrew Naismith. An RBI single from Parker, followed by Justin Thurber’s steal of home on a wild Naismith pitch and Hunter Stovall’s RBI walk gave Pelham a 3-0 lead.

Whitman would set for the night after five innings of work, replaced by junior closer Alex Weeks. Whitman amassed seven strikeouts on 31 thrown strikes, with three walks in the shutout. Weeks caught a trio of Tigers looking for three strikeouts of his own in two innings of work, while the Auburn staff combined for four strikeouts, three walks, and an ERA of 3.86 in Pelham’s 3-0 Game two win.

Pelham head coach Sean Anderson said his pitching did a “a great job commanding the zone,” but gave the visiting Tigers credit for a great series.

“Cimo and Tommy, his pitching coach, are just great guys and it’s fun to see them,” he said. “It’s just great to have them come up. They’ve got a great ball club and they’re going be competitive, and it’s good for us to play teams like that.”