THE JACKSON County baseball team went 1-3 on its trip to Pensacola, Fla. over the weekend in one of its final summer tournaments of the year.
The Panthers lost 5-0 to Pine Forest (Fla.), 10-0 to Auburn I (Ala.) and 11-8 to Washington (Fla.). Their lone win came over Parkview II, 9-2. The team is now set to host the Jackson County Shootout Thursday through Saturday.
“The varsity guys continued to struggle swinging it the first two games, but I was happy with our offensive production the last two games,” coach Tommy Fountain said. “We really played very good baseball the last two games.”
As for individual efforts, Fountain said Jeremy Cook pitched well in the win over Parkview, and Coleman Barbee also had a good start during the tournament. Jase Latty and Jacob Lewis both threw well but were done in by poor defense, according to the coach.
Offensively, Fountain said Travis Vickers had a good tournament, and that Tyler Sartain not only had quality at bats, but also played well at third. Additionally, Andrew Miller and Chuckie Allen “both put together some quality at bats over their last two games,” Fountain said. Defensively, Fountain said Brett Bowen did a good job settling in at shortstop.
Meanwhile, Jackson County’s junior varsity team went 3-1, winning the JV division of the tournament. The JV Panthers beat Pine Forest 10-1, Washington 12-8 and Auburn 9-5. The lone loss came to Pensacola Catholic, 2-1.
“I was very proud of the JV kids, as they played hard, swung the bats well, and had good pitching,” Fountain said. “ Chandler Saine, who was returning from an injury, had a great tournament, as did Kyle Maxwell and Logan Youngblood. Brian Smith was lights out in his first game on the mound.”
Fountain said he had “mixed feelings” about the trip to Pensacola with the varsity team’s late offensive surge and the JV team’s solid showing being the positives.
“But, at the same time, we are nowhere near where we need to be and we're going to have so many of our older guys missing this next weekend — six — that I do not know that we'll have a true opportunity to build on that momentum offensively in our tournament,” Fountain said.
While the coach would like to have all his potential starters available for this week’s Jackson County Shootout, he said it’s a time for younger players to potentially push some of the more established players.
“We have had tremendous competition all summer for a few spots and there's some guys just chomping at the bit and waiting in the wings for their opportunity to shine against varsity competition and they'll get it this next weekend,” Fountain said.
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