ET Baseball: Spring Hill Panthers eliminate Eagles, 10-2
May 6, 2017 at 6:44 p.m.
Spring Hill has rode the strength of good pitching and solid defense to get to this point in the season.
Now the Panther bats are coming to life, and that should send a shudder down the spine of the opposition.
The Rusk Eagles found out the hard way as they were the victims once again Saturday afternoon.
Freshman Cade Medlin, from his eighth hole spot, rapped out two singles, two runs batted in and a run scored as the Panthers rolled to a 10-2 series-clinching win.
Fellow freshman Caden Noah was in control on the mound for the Panthers and notched his sixth win of the season.
The lefty was right most of the afternoon as he painted the corners, mixing off-speed pitches to frustrate the Rusk batters.
Spring Hill (17-8-2) completes the Class 4A bi-district sweep of Rusk and moves into area action later this week against state-ranked Pleasant Grove. Playoff information was not immediately available.
The Eagles finish the season with an overall 13-18 ledger.
"I thought Caden gave us a great effort today. What goes with good pitching is good defense," third-year Panther boss Mike Eckles said. "I was very, very proud of our kids this week. They had a great approach during practice and it carried over into the series this weekend."
Spring Hill put the wraps on a decisive 2-0 sweep with another big third inning. The Panthers were propelled Friday night by a 10-run third on its way to a 12-1 pounding.
Saturday afternoon, the Panthers sent 12 to bat in the third, scratching for a half dozen runs on just two hits.
Noah, who worked six full, striking out seven and walking only one, escaped the first without incident.
It was heads-up defense that aided the rescue. A lead off walk to Hunter Townsend was erased when Trent Gregson quickly gathered in a bunt and wheeled around for a force at second base.
Jared Blake, who tracked it well all afternoon in center, back-peddled to the fence for an out and shortstop Christian Rodgers gobbled up a hard shot to record out three.
Jacob Moore, for the second game in a row, led off by taking one for the team. Blake beat out an infield hit up the middle. Both runners advanced 90 feet following a throwing error.
Noah tapped a slow roller past the reach of Rusk pitcher Andrew Gates and was retired 4-3. This enabled Moore to trot home from third for the game's first run.
Rodgers worked a walk and found his way to third after a passed ball. Designated hitter Dylan Hutchison clubbed a shot past third that pushed across Rodgers for a 2-0 lead.
After going in order in the second, Moore began the third by reaching on an error at second. He proceeded to swipe second and wound up scoring on a fielder's choice off the bat of Rodgers.
Blake got a free pass and eventually tallied when Hutchison executed a perfect sac bunt for his second RBI of the game.
After a walk to Braedon Sims, Green was safe on another Eagle error at second. Medlin took it the opposite way to right with the first pitch he saw and chased home Rodgers and Sims for a 6-0 advantage.
Green came around after Moore had a good at bat with an RBI single to right center. Blake was plunked by a pitch and got an RBI as Medlin strolled home.
The Panthers added singles in the fourth and fifth. Hutchison was pegged by an Eagle offering and pinch-runner Connor Duffey wound up scoring on a wild pitch.
Moore launched a double that carried to the fence in left with one down in the fifth. The senior catcher passed his counterpart following the fourth Rusk error of the game.
(Follow George Whitley on Twitter: @GPigskinprof)