Pitching carries Panthers to two wins on diamond

By Austin Bishop
The Choctaw Plaindealer

Going into the 2014 baseball season head baseball coach Nathan Wright thought pitching might just be a strength for his French Camp Academy Panthers.

Last week’s results certainly didn’t prove him wrong. FCA used an amazing 16-strikeout performance by Hagan Box to take a 8-5 win over Eupora on Tuesday then road a one-hitter by Cole Henson to take a 3-0 win over East Webster on Friday.

French Camp in a March 18 game against Eupora.

French Camp in a March 18 game against Eupora.

“It was the best we have looking since I have been at French Camp,” Wright said. “Hagan and Cole both did a great job. They locate the pitches and are going to make you hit the ball. In the past we haven’t always made the plays defensively, but we did that this week. And we were able to get a couple hits and scratch across some runs.”

FCA had only two games on the schedule for this week and oddly enough both were scheduled for Tuesday. The Panthers were set to host East Webster at 3:30 p.m. and Nanih Waiya at 6 p.m. The following week FCA begins region play by facing Ethel. Also in the same region with the Panthers are McAdams and Sebastopol.

Not only did Box strike out 16 in the win over Eupora, but he recorded three outs on come-backers to the mound and walked just three batters.

“He was working ahead in the county and had quite a few where he just threw three straight strikes,” Wright said. “We mixed it up a pretty good bit, but it was mostly his fast ball.”

Hunter McKnight had a pair of hits for the Panthers, while Hunter Vaughn popped a double and Michael Erving, Colt Trehern, Luke McKnight and Brooks Warren had a hit each. Vaughn and Trehern had two RBIs each for the winners.

The 3-0 win over Eupora saw the 4-3 Panthers scratch across single runs in the second, fourth and fifth innings.

The first run came when pinch-runner Gage McGlothlin stole third and then scored on an errant throw by the catcher. The Panthers made it 2-0 in the fourth when Erving stole third and then scored on a passed ball and then in the fifth Hunter McKnight scored on a hit by Erving.

“Cole pitched a great game,” Wright said. “He placed his fast ball well, and we played good defense behind him.”

Box, Erving, and McKnight each had a single each for the winners.