North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

March 21, 2013

Baseball: Gardendale drops two at Panama City Invitational

By Erik Harris
North Jefferson News

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — After winning their first game at the Panama City Invitational, Gardendale has dropped their last two, both in devastating fashion and for two very different reasons.

On Tuesday, the Rockets held a five-run advantage over Tallahassee Leon midway through the contest, before sputtering into a tailspin that left them on the wrong end of a 10-9 final after extra innings.

Gardendale followed-up their collapse with a 9-0 loss to Panama City Mosley (14-1) on Wednesday night.

Dolphin pitcher Joey Hair went the distance, striking out seven Rockets on his way to a no-hitter. The senior retired nine of the last ten batters he faced (Brady Sellers was hit by a pitch in the seventh).

Hair got plenty of help from his offense. Mosley got things rolling in the first when an opportunistic Brady Bell scored from second on a passed ball. A Gardendale error would send another run across for the Dolphins in the opening inning.

A bevy of errors, combined with the quick-handed Mosley lineup, made for an ugly outing for Rocket pitcher Chris Walton. The senior went four complete innings before being relieved by Chase Graveman, who would finish.

Walton compiled two strikeouts, four walks and a hit batsman on the night.

Things really went south for the Rockets in the third. Already fighting a 4-0 deficit, Walton crowded the base paths with consecutive walks to start the inning. The Dolphins accepted the free passes and went on to cripple Gardendale with a four-run inning that put the game out of reach early by an 8-0 score.

The Rockets (11-5) will look to finish the tournament on a strong note as they compete for a fifth-place finish on Thursday. Mosley will battle Thompson for the tournament crown that night.