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Panthers, Trojans split doubleheader

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The second game of the doubleheader between Jennings County and East Central became a pitchers’ duel.

Panthers starting pitcher Jacob Wingate allowed only four hits, a walk and a strikeout. His mound opponent, Tanner Stout of the Trojans, only allowed three hits, two walks and had five strikeouts of his own.

However, it would be East Central that would come out on top, escaping with a 2-1 victory.

Jennings took the first game of the doubleheader 5-1, thanks in part to a four-hit, five-run third inning.

“We hit the ball very well in the first game, but had our trouble with hitting the ball during the later game,” Jennings coach Gabe Lowman said. “We couldn’t recover from our hitting until it was too late. Stout had a bit of a weird delivery that caught us off guard. He had great velocity on his pitches, and it took us a while to get adjusted to him.”

“Stout really hid his pitches a lot better from us,” said center fielder Lane Staples, who had a single in the second game. “You couldn’t tell where he was going to throw the ball at until it was about halfway to the plate. By that time, it was almost too late for us to react. Our defense kept us in the game. We communicated very well and didn’t make the mistakes we were doing earlier this season.”

The Trojans, though, would eventually break through when the Panther defense started to stagger a bit in the top of the fifth. East Central started with a leadoff walk, then a stolen base. It would eventually score a run off of Jennings’ only error in the game to make it 2-0.

The Panthers scored their only run of the game in the fifth inning, but it came with a bit of controversy. With shortstop Ethan Jarvis on third base, second baseman Owen Land hit a sacrifice fly to right field. Jarvis tagged and sprinted to home plate.

The umpire initially called Jarvis out at the plate as Trojans catcher Jake Tillman made the tag with what would have been the third out. As Tillman was getting up following the tag, he dropped the ball. The umpire would then overturn the call, making Jarvis safe at the plate.

The East Central dugout was clearly upset by the call, which caused the coaching staff to argue the call for several minutes.

“I didn’t have a good jump at third base so I knew it was going to be very close at home plate because their right fielder had a strong arm,” Jarvis said of the play. “I was out initially. When the catcher dropped the ball, though, I was surprised the call went in our favor.”

Lowman, though, would have his own assessment of the play at home plate.

“We got a huge break with the call,” Lowman said. “Unfortunately, we could not capitalize on the extra opportunity.”

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