Ripley slugs past Pine Grove

PINE GROVE — If Saturday’s baseball game between the Pine Grove Panthers and the Ripley Tigers was a home run derby, the two teams might still be playing. “This is a launching pad and if you get a baseball in the air, it’s going to go out,” said Pine Grove Coach Chris Shinall. “So it doesn’t matter who you’re playing.” Shinall called the Panthers’ friendly confines a launching pad because of the short 300-ft. distance from home plate to the outfield fence. Both teams took advantage of the hitter-friendly ballpark, combining for eight home runs in just seven innings of play. Each team accounted for four home runs, however, the Tigers made the most of their long ball opportunities to out-slug the Panthers for a 14-5 victory. For the Tigers (12-12), Will Wallis began the barrage of homers with a grand slam to cap a seven run second inning that put the Tigers out front 7-0. Wallis’ home run was set up after Pine Grove’s Dylan Hill allowed the first seven Tiger batters to reach safely. Hill gave up three consecutive singles, and then surrendered two walks and hit two other batters before Wallis stepped to the plate. Later the Tigers added a solo shot from Zack Jones in the fourth inning, followed by a Jonathan Morrison home run in the sixth. Chase Chapman capped the day with a two-run blast to right field in the seventh. “Well, we came out and hit the ball a little bit and they hit the ball a little bit, but the difference was, we made the plays when they put it in play,” said Tiger Coach Jamie Russell. “The pitching did well–threw strikes and didn’t walk folks–and that gave us a chance to win.” Chanston Jeter got the win for the Tigers. Jeter surrendered only five hits in six innings of work, although four of the five hits were home runs. Jeter stayed out of trouble for most of the day, by keeping the Panther batters off the base paths. The big Tiger right-hander found success with a very effective breaking ball, as noted by Shinall. “There were a lot of home runs today, but we didn’t hit the ball real well,” added Shinall. “The ones we did hit, we hit pretty hard, but we didn’t look very good on any off-speed pitches he (Jeter) threw all day.” Pine Grove’s Jacob Ralph got the Panthers (8-12) on the board with a solo shot in the second inning and Jimmy Spires followed with a solo blast in the third. The Panthers went scoreless for two innings before Trent Collins added a two-run shot and Jacob Ralph hit his second of the day to round out the scoring.

Kedrick Storey/Southern Sentinel