Tifton Gazette


April 5, 2014

Panthers pick up pair of wins in Florida

TIFTON — The first two days of their Florida road trip went well for the Tiftarea Academy Panthers. Not only getting a chance to experience some rays in the Sunshine State, they picked up two wins on the diamond in Tallahassee in their first two attempts. They won over John Paul II 10-7 Wednesday and 2-1 over Rickards Thursday.

It took late innings to win the Wednesday battle.

The scoring started in the 2nd, when a leadoff single by Ethan Bryant was followed by a two-run homer by Rhett Rycroft. John Paul would answer back with four runs of their own in the bottom half of the frame, but Tiftarea soon struck back.

In the 4th, Rycroft walked with the bases loaded and another run scored on a passed ball to tie the game. Their opponent would go back ahead with a single run, which caused coach Brad Porter to summon Pete Perrin in relief of Bo Vickers.

Rob Flick drove in a run in the 6th on a single and Cade Marlowe collected an RBI on a groundout. Marlowe would be called upon to pitch after Perrin's next inning started with an error and a double. Both runners would score to put John Paul up 7-6, but the game would go to extras after the Panthers rallied for another run.

Both teams stayed at a standstill until Tiftarea broke through in the 10th. A leadoff single by Rycroft was followed by two outs, but Flick delivered a single to center and Greer Howard provided insurance when he doubled in Flick and Marlowe.

Rycroft finished with three hits and three runs batted in. Flick and Devin Paulk each had two with Thomas Spurlin, Noah McMinn, Marlowe, Howard and Bryant each contributing one.

The winning ways continued with Rickards, albeit being a pitcher's duel.

Key was Taylor Folsom's day on the mound. He pitched a complete game, striking out 11, surrendering four hits and walking four while allowing only the single unearned run.

The Panthers scored a run in the 2nd inning when Spurlin led off with a double and eventually came around to score on an RBI single by Zach Beier.  Their other run came in the 3rd off Flick's leadoff double. Howard singled him in.

Flick and Spurlin each finished with two hits.

Tiftarea was scheduled to play a game Friday against Florida State University High. Their next game on home turf will be Tuesday, when they host region opponent Deerfield-Windsor at 6:30 p.m.

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Jensen Rainey (left) and Josie Arant will both be participating in the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship next week in North Carolina.

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