Panthers win second straight district title

By CATHRYN CARTWRIGHT,

The Yazoo County Panthers are now back-to-back district champions after three wins last week.

The Panthers defeated Charleston last Wednesday after a slow start, but scored 17 runs to Charleston's 2 during the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings. 

The winning streak continued into Thursday as Yazoo County beat out Amanda Elzy 12 -2.

"We struggled at the plate but managed to put together runs in every inning," said Coach Corbin Ellis. "A two-run home run from Ben Luckett put Elzy away and set up the game with Humphreys County for the district title."

On Friday the Panthers brought home that district title after they defeated Humphreys County 8-2.

"Humphreys always comes in and plays a good game against us," Ellis said. "Add in the fact that it was for the district title and that adds a little more fuel to the match-up."

Ellis said that the Panthers were slow out of the gate scoring only one run in the first inning.  It wasn't until the third inning that the Yazoo County boys woke up and scored seven runs, led by Tanner Evilsizor with three RBIs after hitting a double into a gap.

"We scattered 12 hits throughout the game but could never seem to put them together in one inning," Ellis said. "That third inning proved to be the turning point and when Tanner cleared the bases it gave us a spark to finish out the game."

Cameron Shaffer hit the ball well for the Panthers with a triple and two singles.  Hunter Barron added a double, Peyton Thrasher added a triple and two singles, and Ethan Hill added two singles with an RBI.

"Even though we hit the ball well and everyone in the order squared the ball up and hit it hard, the play that stood out the most in the game was made by Matthew Hughes in right field," Ellis said.

It was at this moment that the best hitter from Humphreys County stepped up to the plate.  One hit from that batter sent the ball flying into a gap in right center field, and it looked like Humphreys County would advance their runners to get extra bases.  Yazoo County's Matthew Hughes had been playing shallow in the outfield and managed to get a good jump on the ball.  Running down the ball, Hughes made a spectacular catch in the outfield which stopped Humphreys County from adding any runs to the board, and brought the inning to a close. 

"It was definitely a Sportscenter Top 10 kind of play," Ellis said.

Ethan Hill pitched all seven innings in the game, allowing two runs with only one walk and 12 strikeouts.

"Ethan is Ethan," Ellis said. "He is poised and confident and just goes out and pitches his game, and when he is on he is hard to hit."

This win allowed the Yazoo County Panthers to bring home the title for the District 3 - 3A Championship.  Overall the Panthers have a season record of 15-5, and are 10-0 in district.

Moving forward Yazoo County will begin their series for the playoffs on Friday at home versus Nettleton.