By REID TUCKER
Paxton freshman pitcher Jesse Whitmire struck out 12 Ponce De Leon batters and gave up just one hit to get a road win for the Bobcats, extending the team’s winning streak to eight.
The Bobcats traveled to face the Pirates on Friday, March 22, in an early afternoon game in an attempt to beat the bad weather forecast for that evening, with Paxton blanking PDL 6-0 in seven innings. Paxton put runs on the scoreboard early and kept ahead thanks to Whitmire’s performance on the mound checking the advances of the Pirates. Due to Paxton’s annual senior trip to New York and back, the team was somewhat short-staffed without some of their older players, but head coach Jeff Bradley, who plans to retire from coaching baseball after this season said it all worked out for the best.
“This was a good chance for us to see what next year’s team will be like,” he said. “I think I’ll be leaving [assistant coach Chris Davenport] in pretty good shape. Our young guys really came out and did well today without the seniors.”
Grant Stewart got the Bobcats off to a good start, as he reached on a walk then scored on a steal in the first inning, and Jordan Hartline and Gabriel Cassidy added to the tally when they both scored in the second for a 4-zip score after two. The real crux of the game came the next inning, when a two-run homer from Austin Carnley drove in himself and John Stevenson for a 5-0 lead for which Ponce had no answer. The next two innings were scoreless, but Paxton’s Jack Hamilton added one more run in the top of the sixth after making it to first on a PDL error.
Hartline was 2-for-3 at the plate and Carnley went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
The bright spot of Ponce De Leon’s game was a good showing by pitcher Cody Allen, who not only struck out 12 Paxton batters in seven innings’ work but had the Pirates’ lone hit of the game. Allen singled to go 1-2 at the plate.
Though Paxton’s record after the conclusion of the game with the Pirates was 8-0, the Bobcats are technically unbeaten in 10 games. Rocky Bayou Christian backed out of a double header at home scheduled for the coming Monday afternoon, with the pair of forfeits adding to Paxton’s winning record.