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April 22, 2018

Mustang’s Baseball Falls to Panthers

Franklin Panther’s lead off batter and first baseman Andrew Terrell found the sweet spot on the second pitch he saw from Zebby Matthews and when the ball came down it was well over the center field fence at Smoky Mountain High School on a cold Friday (March 23rd)in Sylva. For the best of three innings it looked like that would be the offensive story of the day. However in the fourth inning the Panthers would strike again. Aided by two costly errors by the Mustangs wrapped around three Panthers hits and the Panthers were basking in a three to nothing lead behind a brilliant pitching performance by Cody Strain. The Panthers left two stranded in the fifth inning and one in the seventh inning. Mustangs pitcher James Hinson pitched the seventh inning and surrendered a single hit. Other than the homer, Terrell had no other hits for the Panthers. Ty Chastain and Dillon Cochran each had two hit games for the Panthers.
The Mustangs offense led off the first with a Jacob Frizzell single but the opening inning possibility was quickly erased by a Panthers double play. James Hinson led off the second with a double but was left stranded after a perfectly timed leap by Panther’s first baseman Andrew Terrell snared a Dawson Karup drive which would have scored Hinson and tied the game. The Mustangs were three up and three down in the third, fourth, and fifth innings. The Mustangs threatened and appeared to be on the way to a Panthers repeat of their loss earlier in the week when Pisgah smacked a late inning grand slam to take a 7 to 5 lead and beat the Panthers. After a single by Emitt Baldwin; Jacob Frizzell flirted with a homer but the Panther’s Turner Swafford hauled in the ball in deep center to send Baldwin back to first base. Tyler Waliezer singled then Zebby Matthews managed a base on balls to load the bases for the Mustangs clean up batter James Hinson who managed work to a three and two count before connecting on a weak line drive to second base which Rion Kussow easily handled and then threw out Hinson at first base. The Mustangs pinch hitter JD Zimmerman landed a single in shallow center field in the bottom of the seventh but was stranded to end the game with a three to zero loss to Franklin. The Mountain Six Conference now has a three way tie for the top spot with Franklin, Pisgah, and Smoky Mountain all with four and one records. Pisgah will play the Mustangs in Sylva on Tuesday. The first pitch is scheduled for 4:30 and the game will be aired on WRGC “The River” both on 540 and 105.7. The weather is predicted to be a bit warmer than the conditions in which several of the games the Mustangs have played so far.

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