Pelham finishes 4-2 at Hoover tourney

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

HOOVER – The Pelham Panthers’ baseball team has progressively shown its improvement from 2017 to 2018 and it’s a progression that has developed each week this season leading to the team playing some of its best baseball heading into area play.

Most recently, the Panthers went 4-2 in the 2018 Buccaneer Classic hosted by Hoover and held at Hoover High School and Spain Park High School from Wednesday, March 28, through Saturday, March 31.

Game 1: Pelham 13 – Muscle Shoals 2

Pelham came out swinging to start the tournament and picked up 15 hits in the first game, which led to runs in five of the seven innings, including a six-run third inning that gave the Panthers a 9-0 lead at the time.

They went on to win by a final of 13-2 after giving up just two runs in the bottom of the third inning. Otherwise, Mitchell Rottier and Matthew Rye were locked in on the mound.

Rottier struck out seven batters and gave up just five hits and two runs in four innings of action. Rye went on to finish off the final three innings and allowed no hits while striking out one.

At the plate, the Panthers got multiple-hit days from Rottier (3-for-4), Kasey Clark (2-for-3), Garrett Stonicher (3-for-5) and Jackson Weaver (3-for-3). Stonicher and Weaver each had three RBIs to lead the team, while Rottier added two. 

Game 2: Pelham 5 – Hoover 21

The tables turned in game two of the tournament, as Pelham was on the wrong end of an offensive explosion in a 21-5 loss to host and eventual tournament champion Hoover by a final of 21-5.

Hoover scored five runs in the first, nine in the second and seven in the fourth for all of their runs. Pelham scored one in the top of the fourth and four in the top of the fifth.

Rottier continued his impressive play at the plate going 2for-2 with one run scored. Noah Golden led the team with two RBIs in the loss. 

Game 3: Pelham 5 – Pell City 4

The Panthers shook that tough loss off and came back to win an exciting extra-inning game against Pell City in game three of the tournament.

Pelham trailed 3-2 going into the bottom of the sixth inning, but a clutch two-run home run from Stonicher with two outs scored himself and Jacob Shumate to put the Panthers on top 4-3 heading to the final inning.

Down to its last out, however, Pell City was able to put together a clutch hit of its own with an RBI-double in the top of the seventh that tied the game and forced extra innings.

In the bottom of the eighth, with the bases loaded, Weaver stepped to the plate and played the role of hero. He singled on a line drive to left field to score Brayden Plunkett for the walk-off win.

Will Pierce led the charge at the plate with a 2-for-3 day, including two RBIs. Stonicher also added two RBIs, including the clutch game-winning RBI.

Hunter Hall pitched seven innings and tallied six strike outs in his time on the mound. 

Game 4: Pelham 3 – Oakland 0

Pelham scored all of the runs it needed to in the top of the first inning, as the Panthers scored two runs and then got a tremendous effort from Clark on the mound to maintain the lead.

Clark went on to pitch a complete-game shutout and gave up just four hits and one walk while striking out six batters.

Rottier led the way at the plate with a 2-for-4 game while scoring two runs. Hunter Stowe and Stonicher had one RBI apiece.

Game 5: Pelham 8 – Buckhorn 7

Buckhorn had an answer for every Pelham run in the game until the final inning.

The Panthers scored three in the top of the second, followed by two in the bottom of the third from Buckorn. Pelham then scored four in the top of the fourth to take command with a 7-2 lead, but Buckhorn responded with five in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game.

In the top of the seventh, however, Pelham added the final run when an error allowed Stonicher to reach base safely and drive in the game-winning run yet again as Clark crossed the plate.

This time, Buckhorn had no answer, as Shumate closed out the final inning of the game on the mound.

Stonicher was 2-for-4 at the plate with three RBIs and two runs scored to lead the way. Rottier went 2-for-4 as well with one RBI, while Hunter Motes went 1-for-2 with two RBIs.

Game 6: Pelham 3 – Springville 4

After winning two one-run games already in the tournament, the Panthers ended up on the wrong end of a one-run game to close their tourney run with a 4-3 loss to Springville.

It was an exciting finish that saw Pelham take a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh thanks to a two-run double to right field from Clark.

The Panthers eventually forced Springville into its final out of the game, but Braden Hughes then posted a two-run double of his own for the walk-off 4-3 win.

Clark finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBIs to lead Pelham at the plate, while Carter Reid had a strong showing on the mound despite the final inning. He struck out three and gave up just four runs in the contest on 90 pitches.

See more pictures from the tournament at www.shelbycountyphotos.com.