Bulldogs split with Panola
|By: Johnny Green - Texarkana Gazette -||Published: 04/20/2008|
With series remaining against first-place Navarro College and last-place Lon Morris—all at home—Texarkana College could have made it easy on itself with a sweep of Panola College Saturday at George Dobson Field.
Staff photo by Tanner Spendley Panola College’s Brandon Choate slides into third in front of Texarkana College’s Thomas Watson Saturday at George Dobson Field. The Bulldogs won the first game of a doubleheader, 2-1, but dropped the nightcap, 4-3.
Now if they are to qualify for the Region XIV tournament, the Bulldogs will have to it the hard way after blowing early scoring opportunities in a 4-3, second-game loss to the Ponies.
David Allday’s walk-off RBI single with one out in the bottom of the seventh gave TC and left-hander David Phillips a 2-1 win in the opener.
So, instead of a 3-game lead over Panola (29-18, 12-12) with four East Zone games to play, the Bulldogs (27-19, 13-11) hold a scant one-game edge over the Ponies in the battle for the fourth playoff spot.
“We had the opportunity to really make it tough on them (Panola),” said TC coach Will Bolt. “We got the walk-off hit in the first game, and I thought we took the momentum into the second when we got the three-run homer (Phillips) in the first inning. But then we kind of sat on the lead.”
Much of the credit for Panola can go to Carthage right-hander Kory Cleveland, who came on with two outs in the second inning due to an injury to starter Travis Reagan. Cleveland allowed just one hit over the next 6 2/3 innings, striking out two and walking two.
“He did a good job working his fastball to both sides of the plate,” Bolt said. “He didn’t have overpowering stuff, but we just didn’t do a good-enough job at the plate. He gave us pitches to hit, but we just got underneath them. You have to hit line drives, and we hit too many lazy flyballs.”
Phillips’ 13th homer of the season over the center field wall with two aboard in the bottom of the first came after a two-out error kept the inning alive.
The two-out drive scored Trey Buck, who had singled, and Justin Coats, who had walked. But Lance Marvel’s single in the second and Buck’s second hit in the fourth were all the Bulldogs could muster the rest of the way.
It appeared the three first-inning runs would be all that were needed for starter Jason Chowning, who breezed into the seventh with the lead before Panola put together four hits to tie the game. Former Hooks standout Brandon Choate started the rally with a single to left, and scored the first run.
Josh Gill came on with the score tied and kept it that way by retiring the two batters he faced, but he gave up a leadoff double to Chase Wier to start the eighth and took the loss when Wier eventually scored on a groundout off reliever Cory Hill.
“Chowning deserved to win,” Bolt said. “We just didn’t get him any runs early when we had the right guys up. We just didn’t get it done.”
Phillips got it done in the opener, scattering five hits, including a solo home run by Mason Denson, tying the game on the first pitch of the top of the seventh inning.
But with one out in the bottom of the inning, Dean Malthouse singled down the right-field line and Thomas Watson was hit by a pitch. Allday then hit the first pitch from loser Scott Copeland on the ground between third base and shortstop, and Malthouse scampered home with the game winner.
Lance Marvel’s sacrifice fly scored Malthouse from third base with the game’s first run in the fifth inning.
Phillips gave up five hits, struck out three and walked one. Chowning surrendred six hits, fanned seven and walked two in the nightcap.
“I thought we pitched well and played good defense today,” Bolt said. “Our pitchers kept the ball around the zone and we made some good plays in the field. We just didn’t get the timely hits.”
Watson was 2 for 2 with a double in the opener. Zach Fowler also had a double.
Panola ends the season with 2-game series against second-place Bossier Parish and seventh-place Northeast Texas Community College.
Panola College 000 000 1 — 1 5 1
Texarkana 000 010 1 — 2 5 0
One out when winning run scored.
Scott Copeland and Brandon Choate. David Phillips and Dean Malthouse. WP-Phillips. LP-Copeland. HR: PC-Mason Denson, 7th, none on.
Panola College 100 000 210 — 4 7 1
Texarkana 300 000 000 — 3 5 1
Travis Reagan, Kory Cleveland (2), Aaron Wilkerson (8) and Brandon Choate. Jason Chowning, Josh Gill (7), Cory Hill (8) and Dean Malthouse. WP-Cleveland. LP-Gill. HR: TC-David Phillips (13), 1st, 2 on.