Pelham earns first win of season over John Carroll off walk-off wild pitch

Published 2:48 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

PELHAM – After falling in their first five games, the Pelham Panthers prevailed for the first time in 2024 in a 7-6 thriller with the John Carroll Catholic Cavaliers on Saturday, Feb. 24 at Pelham High School.

John Carroll started the scoring with an RBI single on the second batter of the game and doubled the advantage three batters later with another RBI single.

Trailing 2-0 heading into the home half of the first, Emerson Howatt capitalized on a Cavaliers error to score Pelham’s first run of the night and cut the deficit to one.

However, John Carroll added another pair of runs in the top of the second, overcoming a two-out hole to hit a two-run RBI double and making the score 4-1.

While the Panthers couldn’t respond in the bottom of the second, they made it a one-run game on the final two at bats of the third.

After a pair of leadoff walks, a passed ball with two outs allowed Brock Isbell to score, and after Dylan Smith drew a walk, an error by the Cavaliers pitcher let Clayton Mains score as well, leaving John Carroll up just 4-3.

The Cavaliers wouldn’t go away quietly as they scored again in the top of the fourth on an RBI double to go back up by two runs.

That score line held until the bottom of the fifth inning when a Mains walk led to a pair of errors. He advanced to third to allow Howatt to bring him home on a groundout.

After Andrew Petrock drew a walk, Smith singled to tie up the game at 5-5 at the end of the fifth.

While the Panthers allowed another run from John Carroll in the top of the sixth by drawing a walk with a runner on third, they came back once again, this time for good.

A two-out error allowed Howatt to reach base and Isbell to score, tying up the game at 6-6 going into the seventh.

Pelham dominated in the top of the seventh inning by not allowing a single hit. However, that momentum quickly shifted back to the Cavaliers after they got the first two Panthers batters of the bottom of the seventh out.

Pelham surged back with a Sam Tolbert hit followed by a hit by pitch and a four-pitch walk to load up the bases.

With Mains at bat after a John Carroll pitching change, a wild pitch allowed Tolbert to cross home plate for the walk-off 7-6 win.

Jett Hopwood earned the win with six strikeouts in three innings against three runs, three hits and five walks.

The Panthers will seek another win in their next game against Hewitt-Trussville on the road on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m.