The Perry Panthers scored five runs in the first inning and survived their struggles on defense to beat Mary Persons 7-4 in GHSA Region 2-AAAA action Tuesday night. The Panthers stay undefeated at 9-0 in the region while Mary Persons drops to 5-5.
“That is really the first time we have had so much difficulty fielding the ball, but if we can come out and beat a very good baseball team, then we must have done some other things right,” said Perry head coach Lorne Tucker, whose team committed five errors. “I thought we came out and played aggressive baseball and got the lead, and we got very strong pitching from Cal Gentry and Drew Martens. This is a very difficult region, and we are a team that did not even make the playoffs last year. I am just thankful to be around a bunch of guys that work hard every day.”
Perry jumped out quickly and scored five runs in the first inning. Gentry, the leadoff hitter, struck out but reached first on a wild pitch. Parker Stahlman put down a perfect bunt down the third-base line for a hit, and Gentry kept running when he saw that no one was covering third. He kept going when the Bulldogs made a poor throw to third and scored on the play.
Jake Farrell followed with a double that scored Stahlman for the second run, and after a walk to Martens, J.W Gentry singled to load the bases. Farrell scored on a groundout, Martens scored on a fielder’s choice, and J.W. Gentry scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Chase Padgett.
Mary Persons showed some life in its half of the third, scoring all four of its runs, thanks to two errors by Perry. Both Seth Swancey and Bryson Jackson came up with singles to center field that scored two runs each to make it a 5-4 game.
Meanwhile, Mary Persons got a workhorse performance from Davis Clark on the mound. He settled down to give up only five hits in the final five innings and only allowed two more runs in the fourth. With two outs in the inning, Stahlman was on second, but a hard grounder off the bat of Martens got through to score Stahlman, and J.W. Gentry doubled to score Martens.
Clark threw 131 pitches, allowing eight hits and striking out three.
Cal Gentry went the first five innings on the mound and battled throughout, allowing only five hits while striking out five, and Martens finished it with two scoreless innings.
“I don’t really believe in moral victories, because we need to get some wins in our region,” Mary Persons head coach Jonathan Gastley said. “We had one crucial error in the middle of the game and didn’t do a great job of communicating with each other in the first inning. We have two region games left, and obviously those are huge games for us. We just need to get a little more consistent and we will be fine.”