Panthers make strong statement in Clash win
By Jim Turner

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

Homestanding Russellville not only won the first baseball Clash of the Cats for this spring on April 6, but the Panthers did so convincingly.

Coach Lou Kendall's team got 15 hits and had 22 baserunners in five innings on the way to a 12-2 win over the Logan County Cougars.

Sophomore outfielder Caleb Wills had a sensational day at the plate. He had three hits and drove in three runs, including the final two runs on the 10-run mercy rule. He hit a three-run home run to left in the sixth inning, but it was ruled to be a single-RBI ground-rule double. He also had an infield single in the fourth.

Another sophomore, Thomas Shifflett, had three hits, including a solo homer, and he scored three runs.

Senior ace Darren Murphy pitched the win, giving up the two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out two. He was also on base all four times at bat, getting three hits and being intentionally walked.

The Panthers scored five runs in the first inning. After an out Shiflett singled and D.J. Quarles doubled him in. Murphy followed with a ground ball that was just out of the shortstop's grasp, driving in Shifflett. Dudley Bouldin walked, and Seth Washington drove in a run. Wills followed with his blast. Just about everyone in the park thought it was a home run, yet first base umpire Timmy Summers insisted it had bounced over the fence. Although Wills and Washington were sent back to second and third, D.J. Watkins singled in Washington for the fifth run of the inning.

Shifflett homered to start the second. Quarles got his second hit, and Murphy also singled, but Cougar starting pitcher Brett Sowell didn't let either of them score. The Panthers added two more runs in the fourth. Shifflett got his third hit, Murphy singled, Bouldin walked, and Washington-- the third Panther sophomore who hit well-- doubled in both runners.

In the fifth, Andre Edmonds doubled before Quarles hit a ball to second. The throw home was hesitant and late, and Edmonds scored while taking Cougar catcher Dustin Cartas out of the game by cleating his hand. Logan coach Ethan Meguiar had relief pitcher Lawton Jackson intentionally walk Murphy. Dustin Nash, who had moved from left to right following Cartas' injury, made a good catch on Bouldin's fly ball, but Washington doubled in Quarles, and Wills' hit ended the game as two runs crossed the plate.

For Logan, John Logan Dockins drove in the two runs on a third-inning double, scoring Cartas and Sowell, who had singled ahead of him, accounting for half of Logan's hits. Dockins had also singled in the second. Nate Oberhausen reached on an infield single in that inning, but Murphy struck out Jackson to end the threat. Jackson's leadoff single in the fourth was also wasted.

Meguiar said his team had been competitive throughout the season despite six losses, but did not play well in this one. He noted that Sowell, who was hit hard by the Panthers, had not given up a single earned run in his other two starts.

The win was the fifth in a row for the Panthers, all at home. It also ran their district record to 2-0, since they had beaten Franklin-Simpson a week earlier. They go back into district action Tuesday at Todd Central.

Logan fell to 3-7 overall and 0-2 in the district.

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