Hot-hitting Panthers split pair on opening day

By Austin Bishop
The Choctaw Plaindealer

French Camp Academy head baseball coach Nathan Wright got something he expected on Saturday, but also had a nice surprise.

While hitting was expected to be the strong point for the Panthers going into the season, Wright was wondering exactly where he would go to find his third pitcher behind Cole Henson and Hagan Box. He may have a pretty strong clue following Saturday’s action.

“Luke McKnight really came out and pitched the ball well,” Wright said. “He really stepped up and gave us something to think about. He did a good job holding runners on base and was able to locate his fastball.”

FCA used seven different pitchers in it season-opening 8-7 win over Starkville Academy. McKnight pitched the top of the seven and wound up getting the win after Hunter box doubled, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a passed ball to give the Panthers the win.

Although McKnight took the loss in French camp’s 6-5 setback to East Webster in the nightcap, he tossed four strong innings in relief of Cole Henson who pitched the first three.

Box smacked three hits to lead FCA in the opener, while Brooks Warren and Hunter McKnight had two hits each and Luke McKnight and Brady Jackson added a single apiece.

French Camp led East Webster 5-3 after five innings of play in the second game, but the Wolverines scored the winning run on a suicide squeeze in the bottom of the last inning.

“It would have been a big win for us, but we competed well,” Wright said.

Henson belted a triple for the Panthers in the EW game, while Colt Trehern and Logan Burchfield each doubled and Hunter McKnight, Warren, Jackson and Travis Henning each singled.

The Panthers are set to play Water Valley on Thursday and Eupora on Saturday in the East Webster tournament. FCA will sandwich a home game with Noxapater on Friday between those two games.