Pelham scores 11 late runs to mercy-rule Briarwood

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – After scoring two combined runs for a 1-1 tie through four innings of play, the Pelham Panthers’ bats finally woke up after struggling the night before at Oak Mountain, as they put together 11 combined runs in the fifth and sixth innings to pull away for a 12-1 mercy-rule victory in six innings of a road matchup with Briarwood on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

Cody Ferguson was locked in on the mound throughout the game for Pelham and picked up the win thanks to allowing four hits and just one run, while striking out four in his five innings on the mound.

His consistency on the mound kept the Panthers in the game and helped them have the opportunity to pull away late for the victory, before Matthew Rye closed out the final inning on the mound.

The opening inning saw both teams put a run on the board starting with Pelham in the top half after Cody Ferguson and Carter Reid led off with a double and single, respectively. During Kasey Clark’s at bat, Ferguson was eventually able to score on an error by the first baseman to bring home the Panthers’ first run of the night.

Carson McKinney, however, settled in on the mound after that and struck out three in a row to end the damage there.

Then the Lions stepped to the plate and answered with a run of their own. A leadoff single from Bryce Perrien was followed by two outs, but then McKinney singled on a ground ball to left field to drive in Perrien and tie the game 1-1 at the end of the first inning.

That was followed by three scoreless innings in a row despite eight combined baserunners between the two teams in that stretch.

Pelham, however, eventually decided to capitalize on runners getting aboard in the top of the fifth.

With two outs in the inning, the Panthers were able to put together a rally. It started when Reid hit a ground ball to shortstop and reached on an error, that could have been the final out of the inning and prevented any damage.

Clark then stepped to the plate and striped a ground ball up the middle to put runners on the corners. After Adam Camlic was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Jackson Weaver walked in a run, before Kyle Camlic was hit by a pitch as back-to-back pitching mistakes led to two runs crossing the plate.

That was followed by a four-pitch walk to bring home another run and put Pelham on top 4-1 midway through the fifth.

After Ferguson got Briarwood to go 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the inning, Pelham stepped back to the plate ready to carry its offensive momentum into the sixth.

That’s exactly what happened, and again with two outs in the frame. Weaver was hit by a pitch to walk in one run, while Kyle Camlic was walked to drive in another, as the Panthers weren’t having to swing the bats to put runs on the board.

That changed quickly, however, when Matthew Meddick and Seth Thomas put together back-to-back singles to drive in four more runs for an 10-1 lead.

If you thought that was impressive, Jacob Shumate and Ferguson followed with back-to-back triples to add two more runs and give the Panthers the final blow for the 12-1 victory as Rye closed the game out with ease in the bottom half of the inning.

Pelham was led by Ferguson at the plate in addition to his pitching performance. He went 3-for-5 with one RBI and two runs scored. Meddick also had a great night going 2-for-3 with three RBIs and one run scored. Four others picked up one hit, while Weaver and Thomas each had two RBIs.

The Lions were led by McKinney with a 2-for-2 game featuring their only RBI.