RHS holds off Cougar baseball
By Jim Turner

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

     Building a big lead and holding on for dear life, the Russellville Panthers withstood a determined comeback by Logan County 8-7 on April 28 at the LCHS field.
     The Panthers built leads of 5-0 and 8-2, but Logan had two chances to score the tying and winning runs in the final inning.
     Pitcher Darrin Murphy buckled down and got the final two outs to preserve the 8-7 win.
     The victory gave the Panthers a sweep of the two regular season Clashes of the Cats, beginning with a 9-2 win at Kelly Russell Field three weeks earlier.
     Senior centerfielder Zach Smith had a big game for the winners. He hit a two-run homer in the second inning, drove another ball to the wall, scored what proved to be the winning run after being intentionally walked in the fifth inning, and caught Logan’s final fly ball of the game.
     The two-run homer came in the second after Murphy had fought off an inside pitch by Brett Sowell for a hit. Russellville added two runs in the third when Andre Edmonds beat out a single on a ball he hit off the mound, D.J. Quarles doubled him in, and Dudley Bouldin stroked an RBI single.
     The Panthers moved the lead to 5-0 when Seth Washington walked on a full-count pitch, and Brian Harris doubled him in. Harris was playing first base in the absence of senior Charleston Sydnor, who may be lost for the season with an injury.
     Logan started coming back in the fourth inning. Dustin Cartas, who had singled in the first inning, walked to end a streak of seven straight batters retired by Murphy.. Dustin Lee advanced courtesy runner Walton Jackson to second, and he scored when John Logan Dockins struck out but reached base on a wild pitch. Sowell helped his own cause by doubling. Tyler Coleman walked to load the bases, and Robert Allen got an RBI by being hit by a pitch, scoring Dockins.
     The Panthers’ lead had been cut to 5-2, but RHS quickly got those two runs back plus one more.
     Bouldin reached on the game’s first error. Murphy hit a line drive double, but runner D.J. Watkins had to hold at third. Cougar Coach Ethan Meguiar ordered the hard-hitting Smith intentionally walked to load the bases.
     Pitcher Lawton Jackson, who had come to the mound in relief between innings, got Thomas Shifflett to pop up foul for the second out, but Washington walked for an RBI, and then Donovan Harris seemed to put the game out of reach with a two-run single to make the lead 8-2. It turned out the Panthers were going to need all of those runs.
     The Cougars threatened in the bottom of the fifth when Cartas was hit by a pitch and Lee singled, but Murphy got Dockins on a fly ball, and Sowell forced Lee on a ground ball to second baseman Caleb Wills.
     Jackson retired the Panthers in order in the sixth, and then the Cougars made a game out of it. Jackson walked on four pitches and Allen reached on Edmonds’ error. Oberhausen singled in one run, Harper reached on an outfield error, and Cartas powered a 2-run double. Brandon Sowell came on to run for him. Lee got his second straight hit, doubling in two runs to cut the lead to 8-7.
     The potential tying and winning runs were on base, but Murphy rewarded Coach Lou Kendall’s confidence in him by getting Dockins to fly out again and striking out Sowell on three pitches.
     Russellville had a chance to build another big lead in the seventh. Murphy popped a ball up in shallow left. Second baseman Cook and right fielder Allen miscommunicated, and the ball fell to the ground. Luke Boisseau was the courtesy runner. Smith hit a ball almost to the same spot and Allen fell going for it, but he made the catch anyway.
     Shifflett sacrificed Boisseau over and Washington walked. Meguiar brought Coleman to the mound. On his first pitch, Donovan Harris popped up to him to end the threat.
     That one pitch could have made Coleman the winning pitcher. Logan had a good chance to win the game in the bottom of the seventh.
     Cook led off the inning with a single and went to second on Coleman’s sacrifice bunt. Murphy then hit Allen with a pitch for the second time to put two runners on with the top of the batting order coming up..Again Kendall stayed with his ace, and again Murphy responded by getting a called third strike against Oberhausen on a full-count pitch. The game ended with Harper flying out to Smith.
     The win ran Russellville’s record to 9-5, 2-3 in the district. The Panthers, who are guaranteed a spot in the two-three game in the district tournament, play at Todd Central (6-12) Tuesday. The Rebels upset the Panthers 12-1 at Kelly Russell Field on April 15.
     Logan’s record fell to 8-11, 1-3 in the district. The Cougars are scheduled to play at Todd Central Monday and at Franklin-Simpson Tuesday. Franklin has already clinched the top seed in the district tournament.
     You can hear a play-by-play and see pictures of the game on the Video Site section of the Logan Journal.

Copyright © The Logan Journal 2009 - 2023