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April 15, 2014

McMinn, Beier shut down Glenwood

CHULA — The Tiftarea Academy Panthers mustered only five hits Monday night, but that would be enough for them. Behind the arm of Noah McMinn, clutch hitting from Zach Beier and a big trick play, they bested the Glenwood (Ala.) Gators by a 2-1 score.

McMinn not only dominated on the mound, but had key moments as a defender and a hitter. Both came in the 6th inning when the game was tied 1-1.

The Panthers had recorded two outs in the 6th, but found themselves in peril after a double. McMinn had thrown over to second once to keep the runner close. He threw over again, the ball squirted into the outfield and past a diving centerfielder. That is how it appeared to be. As the runner made his way to third, he found the ball waiting for him. It had never left the infield.

Potential crisis averted, it was time for the Panthers to make their move.

Devin Paulk hit an infield grounder. It short-hopped the shortstop and he was safe at first. McMinn laid down a bunt to put him in scoring position. He moved up another base on Ethan Bryant's grounder to the mound.

That brought up Beier. Beier, who was one of three Panthers to have hits, was already 2-2. This time, he lined a single. Paulk scored to give them the lead and coach Brad Porter opted to leave McMinn on the mound to close it out. The Gators would get a two-out single, but move no further as the final man flew out to Paulk.

Glenwood gave the indications of a rough day when they touched McMinn for a run in the 1st. A one-out hit stole second, then went to third on a throwing error. He would come in on a sacrifice fly.

McMinn would settle down after that. He would not strike out many, but kept the baserunners to a minimum. The Gators' next hit would not come until the 6th and they were held to three total. They drew only two walks.

Tiftarea had no problems getting runners on, but crossed the plate just once before the 6th, courtesy of opponent mistakes.

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