Pitching Leads Panthers To Regional Quarterfinals

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If the saying is true that pitching wins championships, then the Lufkin Panthers’ baseball team is in good shape.

This past weekend, the Panthers used their pitching to lead them to the Class 5A Region II Area championship as they finished off a two-game sweep with a 2-0 win over the Waxahachie Indians at Mike Carter Field on Friday night.

With the win, the Panthers finished off a series in which they outscored the Indians by a total score of 5-0.

Just a day after Christian Stephens pitched a complete game shutout, Logan Lair and Kolten Eberlan combined on their own three-hit shutout.

Lair started the game and pitched the first six innings, allowing two hits while walking one. Despite not striking out a batter, he kept the Waxahachie hitters off balance for the entire game.

Eberlan worked the final scoreless inning, allowing one hit and a walk while striking out one.

Blake Lazarine led Lufkin’s hitting with a double and an RBI and Jonathan Dewberry had a single and an RBI. Luke Rowley, Haylen Green and Adrian Pena each had a single for the Pack.

After Lair retired the side in order in the first inning, he got all the help he needed in the bottom half of the frame.

Rowley started the rally with a  one-out single then came around to score on a Lazarine double that made the score 1-0.

Lair rolled through the first five innings, allowing just a single baserunner on a Trevin Robinson single in the third inning. However, no Waxahachie runner advanced into scoring position in those innings.

The Panthers then tacked on an insurance run in the fifth inning with Pena walking and going to second when Conner Hanks reached on an error. Dewberry followed with an RBI single that made it 2-0.

Waxahachie had its biggest threat in the sixth inning when it loaded the bases on a hit batter, walk and a single. However, Lair avoided any damage by inducing a flyout to center that preserved the Panthers’ lead.

The Indians also threatened again by loading the bases in the seventh inning off of Eberlan.

He escaped that damage and earned the save by forcing a groundout that sent the Panthers into the regional quarterfinals.

Tyler Navarro took the loss for Navarro, allowing two earned runs on five hits with a walk and a strikeout.

Next up for the Panthers is a regional quarterfinal matchup against Hallsville with all three games being played at Tyler’s Mike Carter Field.

The series will start on Thursday night at 7 and resume on Friday night at 6. A third game, if necessary, would be played 30 minutes after the conclusion of the second game.

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