Egan’s walk-off single gives Pelham win over Hillcrest

Published 5:55 pm Wednesday, April 12, 2023

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

PELHAM – A challenging season at times for the Pelham baseball team after last year’s trip to the Class 6A state championship saw reason for celebration on Monday, April 10, as the Panthers were able to pick up a thrilling walk-off win in extra innings.

Tied 1-1 with Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa, Matt Egan stepped to the plate with one down and two runners on base looking for some heroics.

Sitting in a hitter’s count at 1-2, Egan took the fourth pitch he saw and popped it to right field, eventually finding the turf and allowing Clayton Mains to sprint home from third for the game-winning run in a 2-1 victory.

Mains led off the inning with a single to put one aboard, while Durbin Stewart then reached safely on an error, putting two on base for Jake Fox. Fox quickly laid down a sac bunt to move both baserunners into scoring position for Egan.

He then stepped in and did his part by driving home the game-winning run.

It was a fitting end for the Panthers, who bookended a one-run bottom of the first with a run in the bottom of the eighth.

The Panthers did strike first in the bottom of the first with Mains making his presence felt early. While he was big with his lead-off hit in the eighth, he started the game with a two-out, RBI double to center field to give the Panthers a 1-0 advantage.

A defensive battle ensued from there with little action through the fourth inning, but Hillcrest eventually brought the game-tying run home on an RBI ground out in the top of the fifth.

Keeping pace with the rest of the game, that was all of the action until Egan’s exciting finish in extras as neither team could capitalize on opportunities until Egan’s clutch hit.

At the plate, Mains led the way with a 2-for-3 game featuring an RBI, while Andrew Petrock finished with two hits in four trips to the plate.

Egan added the game-winning hit and RBI, while Chase Saul also finished with one hit in the win. On the mound, Blake Woodall pitched a normal complete game by going seven innings and allowing one run on five hits with two walks, while he struck out five.

Stewart was able to come in and pitch a scoreless top of the eight, allowing two hits and a walk but no runs to allow the Panthers the chance to win it in the bottom of the eighth.