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May 6, 2014

Panthers come from behind to beat Sherwood Christian

TIFTON — The Monday evening baseball game between Tiftarea Academy and Sherwood Christian Academy was more than a game, it was a celebration.  It was a celebration of Tiftarea Aacdemy, the Tiftarea community and, most importantly, the Tiftarea Academy Panther baseball seniors and their families.   

The seniors (and their parents) that have helped build a program that includes two consecutive Region 3-AAA championships include Zach Beier (Tracy and David Banks and Jessica and Doug Beier), Rob Flick (Jill and Tom Flick), Taylor Folsom (Kim and Todd Folsom), Greer Howard (Kaylar and Drew Howard), Pete Perrin (Donna and Arthur Perrin) and Thomas Spurlin (Kathy and Tuck Spurlin).

 During the pregame ceremony, the Tift County Sheriff's Office Color Guard was in attendance for the presentation of colors.  This was followed by Sheriff Cox (retired from Worth County) throwing out the first pitch.  Mike Purvis (U.S. Army-retired) with the Wounded Warriors was also recognized during the game. 

 As for the game, Tiftarea won 9-5. They scored two runs in the first inning after Flick was hit by a pitch and then advanced to second on an errant pickoff throw by the catcher.  Cade Marlowe followed with an RBI single to score Flick.  Devin Paulk was next up and he delivered an RBI double to center field, scoring Marlowe. 

The Panthers, though, entered the bottom of the fourth inning with a 5-2 deficit.  Beier and Taylor Folsom recorded back-to-back singles to start the inning.  Beier later scored on an errant pickoff throw by the pitcher. Perrin walked on a wild pitch that put runners at the corners.  Folsom came in to score on a fielder's choice by Flick then  Paulk singled to move Flick to third.  Flick scored on the next play as Spurlin hit a fly ball that was misplayed by the right fielder.

Noah McMinn followed Spurlin with an RBI double to right field.  The Panthers took a 7-5 lead into the bottom of the 6th inning, where they added two insurance runs.  Flick singled to start the inning, followed by a walk to Marlowe.  Sam Varnadoe entered the game as a courtesy runner for Flick but was retired on a fielder's choice by Paulk.  McMinn was then hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs.  Howard provided the insurance as he hit a line drive to left field, scoring Marlowe and Paulk. 

Perrin came on to pitch a scoreless 7th, securing the 9-5 victory for the Panthers.  Paulk recorded the win for the Panthers on the mound.  Offensively, the Panthers were led by Marlowe, Paulk and Beier with two hits each.  Flick, McMinn, Howard and Folsom each added a hit in the win.

 The Panthers begin the playoffs with a doubleheader at home on Friday against Augusta Prep.  The first game is scheduled for 3 p.m. with the second game to follow 30 minutes after its completion.  If a game three is necessary it will be played on Saturday at 11 a.m.

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