The weather was cold, but that didn’t stop the Abbeville baseball club from coming out hot on Tuesday. The Panthers put up seven runs in the first two innings, which led to a 11-1 win for the club.
The Panthers were able to get ahead early after shortstop Bryce Jackson roped a triple to left field, and then outfielder Zach Overholt laced a two-out single up the middle to make the game 1-0 in the first.
“The weather was brutal,” Abbeville coach Mark Smith said. “But it was good to play with a lead. We were able to do some things on the bases.... Offensively we got some clutch hits and it’s always easier to play and coach with a lead because you can be more aggressive, take more chances and I thought that was the difference tonight.”
The two-out single by Overholt in the first started a trend for the Panthers. Through the fourth inning, the team scored eight of its runs with two outs, six of them coming in the second inning.
As Smith alluded to, his team was able to be aggressive on the basepath, starting with a Jackson-Overholt hit-and-run in the second.
“In the Dixie game last week we scored six of our eight runs with two outs,” Smith said. “And a lot of that is not giving up on the inning, continuing to play the next pitch. Like I said, we were aggressive on the bases, and, I think, got ourselves in some positives counts which was good. We got the fastball a couple of times and got some guys that have played a lot of baseball so hopefully we can be good fastball hitters.”
Jackson and Overholt combined were 6-8 with 4 RBIs, three of them coming from Overholt. The pair were both aggressive with their swing early in the count, keeping the pressure on the Ware Shoals pitchers.
But a lot of the heavy lifting came from Andrew Hughes who did a lot of the team’s dirty work on the hill.
“Andrew filled it up for us (out on the mound) and threw a lot of strikes,” Smith said “We kind of forced him to be aggressive, he’s got a good breaking pitch and was able to use that.”
The team had a chance to mercy rule the Fighting Hornets in the bottom of the fourth with a 9-0 lead, but it left a run stranded at third base. In the top of fifth Hughes gave up his only run of the game that made the score 9-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, however, the Panthers tacked on two more to make it 11-1 which then put the mercy rule in effect and ended the game.
“I hope this continues,” Smith said. “If you can hit tonight maybe you can hit on a 70-degree day.”
Contact staff writer Julian McWilliams at 864-223-1814 or on Twitter@JulianMack105