Indians freeze out Panthers in 12-1 chiller

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By Jenna McKenna

Jeremy Hayes had four strikeouts and allowed three hits in Chiefland's 12-1, five-inning domination over Newberry Friday night. As the thermometer plunged, the Indians worked efficiently, playing good defense and supporting Hayes at the plate. Fans clapped their teeth in appreciation.

Chiefland waited at the plate, exploited Newberry's youth in the field and ran the bases extremely well. Mike Perkins and Dane Cothron crossed the plate six times for half of Chiefland's 12 runs with only two hits between them, one of them Perkins' three-run homer in the fourth inning. Chiefland had 11 hits overall.

Cothron drew a leadoff walk to start the game, stole second and was driven in by Clenton Wasson. Trey Ross answered for the Panthers, with a leadoff single in the bottom of the first. The score was briefly tied, but then the Indians began to assert themselves.

Perkins led off the second inning for Chiefland, taking a walk and leading a parade of five runs on the inning. Parrish Parnell, Bo Beauchamp, Josh Wasson and Cothron followed him home as the Indians hit through the lineup.

With a big lead already, the third inning was the only one in which the Indians did not score. The fourth inning saw Chiefland bat through the lineup again and put up five more runs, including Perkins' three-run dinger, making it 11-1. Indian fans, their Columbia blue fingers and lips matching their ball caps, pleaded with their team to “hold 'em.”

Hold 'em they did, as Hayes gave up only one hit in the fourth and none in the fifth. Hayes faced only 19 batters in five innings, and sent the batters down in order in the third and fifth. He gave up only two walks, and the defense had only two errors.

“Jeremy was hitting his spots,” said Chiefland Head Coach Kyle Parnell.

“He looked more comfortable tonight. He got the win Tuesday night (against The Villages), but he didn't look as comfortable as he did tonight. When he's on, he's gonna give us a win. I'm glad we were able to give him some run support.”

The Indians had struggled with hitting the night before in a 4-3 loss to Trenton.

“We had Jacob Reidy on the mound and he pitched really well – 13 strikeouts,” said Parnell.

“We needed to do a better job with the bats.”

Chiefland is 2-1 on the season, including the 10-3 opening win over The Villages, and 1-0 in the district.

The Indians travel to Williston Saturday at 2 p.m. (11 a.m. JV). The Williston game will be the third straight district game on the schedule, coming behind Newberry and Tuesday's game against Ft. White. Parnell was unable to look past Ft. White to think about matching up pitchers for Williston.

“We're just going to see how many pitchers we need Tuesday, and go from there,” he said.