Garrison Elliott blasts a home run to cap off the scoring at 7-0.
(Staff Photo by Christopher Dunn)
Starr's Mill is gearing up for a thrilling finish to the baseball regular season. The Panthers' 7-0 victory over the McIntosh Chiefs was a big one for region positioning with the state playoffs looming.
Coming into the game, Starr's Mill, McIntosh, and Whitewater were in a virtual three-way tie for the region lead. All three held three losses. Now McIntosh sits a game behind while Whitewater and Starr's Mill will play what is likely a winner take all game on Wednesday on the Panthers' field.
"It was a huge win for us," said Starr's Mill coach Brent Moseley. "As long as we handle our business, we'll get to host the state playoffs. We're looking forward to that."
The Panthers certainly handled their business against McIntosh. Ryan Avidano led the way, pitching six scoreless innings, allowing just five hits, and striking out five.
"Ryan's been awesome," Moseley praised. "He went on four days rest today and threw 102 pitches."
McIntosh's typically potent offense, which averages nearly ten runs a game, was held in check all night. They're only extra base hit was a double by Andrew Johnson in the fifth inning.
The game looked to be a pitcher's duel in the early going. In the bottom of the fourth the Panthers' bats came alive for three runs. Garrison Elliott started it off by reaching base and racing to second on an error. Adam Goodman followed up by rocketing a double to the gap to score the game's opening run. Goodman would move over to third base on a Ryan Avidano single and then score on a throw error. Brett Jeffares would reach base next on a bunt single that saw pinch runner Patrick Mullins race all the way from second for a 3-0 lead.
Starr's Mill got back to work in the fifth inning, tacking on three more runs. Ryan Peurifoy reached base first to lead things off after getting hit by a pitch. Following a steal of second, Elliott drove him home with a single. A Goodman single and a Jeffares walk loaded the bases with one out. Kyle Moseley came through a single to plate one more before Chris Chaphe's sacrifice fly made it 6-0.
Starr's Mill tacked on one more run in the sixth inning on a mammoth solo home run by Garrison Elliott.
Luke Abrams pitched the seventh inning to close out the 7-0 win for the Panthers.
Coach Moseley acknowledged that the win gives the team confidence as they make a playoff push, but cautioned "we've just got to keep playing and see what happens."
Baseball fans around town can't wait to see what happens in that matchup with Whitewater for the title.