J.R. Tidwell/FCT Tharptown’s John Staggs (6) lays down a bunt that brings in a run against Collinsville in game two Friday

Archived Story

Tharptown falls to Collinsville in first round

Published 5:59am Wednesday, April 25, 2012

THARPTOWN — The 2012 baseball season came to an end for the Tharptown Wildcats on Saturday at the hands of the Collinsville Panthers in a three-game series.

The Panthers took game one 12-1. Tharptown took an early lead in the bottom of the first when Will Washington brought in a run by beating the throw to first base. It was all downhill for the Wildcats from there.

Collinsville tied the game up at 1-1 in the top of the second, but the Panthers extended their lead to 6-1 after a five-run inning in the top of the third.

Collinsville scored six more runs in the game to pick up the 11-run win.

Game two saw a much different contest between the two teams.

The game was scoreless through the first four innings, and pitcher Kelby Hallmark did not give up a hit for Tharptown until the top of the fourth.

The Wildcats took the lead in the bottom of the fifth on a squeeze play by Tharptown. John Staggs laid down a bunt with Colton Blankenship on third, bringing Blankenship in.

The game stayed at 1-0 until the Wildcats picked up an insurance run in the top of the seven, one that would end up being the game winner.

Staggs and Blankenship reprised their performance in the fifth, with Staggs again bringing in Blankenship from third on a bunt single.

“John Staggs has been our bunter all year,” Tharptown head coach Derek Ergle said. “He knows where to place the bunt.”

Collinsville had two on with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Hallmark struck out a batter, but the Panthers continued their late-game rally by bringing a run in.

Washington scooped up a ground ball and ran to first base for the final out of the game, allowing Tharptown to tie the series up at one game each.

“Will Washington is a senior, and he didn’t want the season to end tonight,” Ergle said. “I knew the kids were nervous because this is their first time in the playoffs.  We had a long talk in the dugout after game one. I’m proud of them. They didn’t give up. To bounce back after such a big defeat says a lot about them.”

Things did not go so well for the Wildcats in game three, as Collinsville controlled the contest throughout.

The Panthers picked up their first run in game three when a runner stole home plate on a wild throw to first. Collinsville then picked up two more runs on back-to-back RBI doubles.

Max Nolen scored the only run of the game for Tharptown when he touched home plate, beating the third out of the inning at third base.

Collinsville picked up a run in the third and fourth innings, giving them a 5-1 win.


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