Friday, June 21, 2024

High school baseball: Parkway, Benton, Haughton open series with victories

by Russell Hedges
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The Parkway Panthers, Benton Tigers and Haughton Bucs all won the first games of their best-of-3 non-select Division I first-round series Friday night.

Parkway, the No. 11 seed, defeated No. 22 Ponchatoula 4-2 at Ronnie Coker Field. Game 2 is scheduled for Saturday at 12:05 p.m. Game 3, if necessary, is scheduled for 3.

Benton, the No. 13 seed, defeated No. 20 Denham Springs 1-0 in eight innings at Benton. Game 2 is scheduled for noon. Game 3, if necessary, is scheduled for 3.

Haughton, the No. 19 seed, defeated No. 14 Walker 6-4 at Walker. Game 2 is scheduled for noon. Game 3, if necessary, is scheduled for 3.

At Parkway, six Panthers combined for seven hits. Shawn Driggers went 2-for-3. Dakota Armour had a double.

Starter Colton Smith struck out 14 in 6 2/3 innings. He allowed two hits and walked three.

The Panthers (23-8)  scored two in the bottom of the first. 

Abel Thetford walked and Maddox Cockerham was hit by a pitch. Both advanced on a groundout by Sean Waits. Thetford scored on a single by Driggers and Cockerham came home on a sacrifice fly by Kamron Blackshire.

Parkway went up 3-0 in the third. Thetford led off with a single, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cockerham and reached third on a wild pitch. Waits brought him home with a single.

Ponchatoula (15-13) cut the lead to 3-1 in the top of the sixth. Parkway answered with a run in the bottom of the inning. Jax Thomson singled with one out, moved to second on Jackson Holmes’ sacrifice bunt and scored on Cole Snell’s single.

The Green Wave put runners on first and second with two outs in the seventh. They scored a run on an error but the Panthers also recorded the final out.

At Benton, Kade Bryant allowed just two hits in 7 2/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked three.

In the bottom of the eighth, Hayden Millen reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second. Case Jorden then drilled a pitch into left field and Millen scored.

Denham Springs had the bases loaded with two outs in the top of the eighth. Tanner Webb replaced Bryant and got a strikeout to end the threat.

Denham Springs’ Caleb Klug went the distance. He allowed three hits, struck out six and walked one.

Benton improved to 26-9. Denham Springs dropped to 17-13.

At Walker, Haughton got off to a fast start with five runs in the top of the first.

Dalton Meachum, Christian Turner, JP Cormier and Troy Fielding had singles. Landon Rolland’s two-out triple scored the final two runs.

The Bucs (22-11) added a run in the second on Brayden Stovall’s double. Meachum led off with a walk and Turner was hit by a pitch.

Walker (23-11) scored single runs in each of the first four innings.

Haughton used five pitchers.

After a pair of singles, Trent McGowen induced three straight flyouts in the bottom of the fifth.

Rolland replaced McGowen after the fifth. After an error, the Bucs turned a double play on a fly ball to Fielding at center. Rolland then induced a groundout.

Justin Adkison took the mound with one out in the bottom of the seventh and a runner at first. He got a strikeout and induced a groundout to end the game.

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