Ponies split first conference doubleheader
The 2013 Panola College baseball team split its first conference double header with Angelina College on Sunday, Feb. 17. The Ponies won the first game 4-1, but lost the second game 6-3.
Gavin Williamson (Carthage) shut down Angelina on 4 hits in game 1, with the Roadrunners’ single run unearned, the result of two first inning errors.
Afterwards, Williamson allowed only one Roadrunner to advance past second base. With one out in the sixth inning, the Runners threatened when catcher Caleb Henry singled and advanced to second on a throwing error. Zach Smith cracked a single to right, but Clint Cage’s throw to home held Henry at third. Ponies’ catcher Jacob Blissett (Carthage) fielded the throw and fired the ball to shortstop Trevin Sonnier, who tagged Smith when he attempted to take second. Williamson ended the inning with Gregg Belton’s fly ball to shallow right field.
Sophomore Hunter Hagler (Vidor) supplied offensive fireworks for the Ponies in the second inning after Blissett and Derrian “Boom” James (Beaumont) singled and Matt Spruill (Burke, VA) walked to load the bases. Hagler smashed a double deep to the gap in left center. Blissett and James scored on the hit, and Spruill added the Ponies’ third run on a throwing error by the Runners’ center fielder. In the bottom of the sixth, Cage (Carthage) gave the Ponies their fourth run with his second home run of the season.
Kolbe Schufft (Shreveport, LA) was the starting pitcher in game 2. After the first inning, when Angelina scored a run on two singles and a fielder’s choice, Schufft cruised until the sixth inning. The Ponies took the lead in the fifth with a rally that started with Sonnier’s two-out single to left. Sonnier (Nederland) stole second, James walked, then Sonnier stole third, setting the stage for Greg Martens’ (Spring Hill) RBI single up the middle. James advanced to third on Martens’ hit and scored on third-baseman Hagler’s second clutch hit of the day.
The Runners did the damage in the top of the sixth, when Angelina’s Chase Weaver hit a grand slam. After the slam, right-hander Robbie Petty relieved Schufft. Petty retired all 10 batters he faced, though not consecutively. In the top of the eighth, Angelina’s cleanup hitter, Alberto Sanabria (Hudson) scratched out a single, but on the next play Panola’s third-baseman Hagler fielded a shot off the bat of Greg Belton to start a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.
In the fifth inning, Angelina’s lefty Cody Oliver, pitching in relief, threw slow and slower. By the eighth inning, Panola’s hitters had made the adjustment and Cage hit a homer over the left field fence, followed by a single from Preston Manka. Other Pony hitters smashed the ball all over the park—directly to gloves—and, in the bottom of the ninth, Stephen Schlett (Port Neches) doubled. Final score 6-3.
A season-ending shoulder injury has sidelined sophomore pitcher Bubba Maxwell (Vidor), who has already signed with the University of Houston. Head Coach Todd Shelton and Assistant Coach Jason Causey will count on the team’s deep bullpen, heavy hitters and strong defense to carry the Ponies through conference play.
Panola, 3-5 entering conference play, travels to Blinn Tuesday, Feb. 19.
See more photos in the Panola Baseball Photo Gallery.