LUFKIN, Texas – Sophomore infielder Hayden Vesely collected three hits, including a solo home run, but the Panola Ponies defeated the Blinn Buccaneers 3-2 here Saturday in the first round of the Region XIV Baseball Tournament.
Blinn will face the loser of tonight’s Bossier Parish – San Jacinto game in an elimination contest at 1 p.m. Sunday.
“We just didn’t do enough offensively when we needed to,” Blinn (31-25) coach Harvey McIntyre said. “We played hard and we played loose, we just didn’t make it happen.”
Vesely went 3-for-4, collecting the Buccaneers’ first hit of the game and launching a solo shot in the seventh that cut Panola’s lead to 3-2.
Cullen Gassaway and Brandon Montalvo each went 2-for-4. Nolan Brown hit an RBI single to drive in the Buccaneers’ first run in the fifth.
The Bucs out-hit Panola 9-7, but were plagued by 11 strikeouts.
Michael Vielma threw the first four innings for the Bucs, allowing three earned runs on six hits and a walk. He struck out three in four innings.
West Wick was outstanding in relief, throwing four innings of one-hit ball. He struck out three.
Gavin Williamson earned the win for Panola, allowing two earned runs in 7 2/3 innings. He allowed nine hits and struck out nine. Adam Atkins recorded the final four outs, striking out two to earn the save.
Panola's Hunter Hagler hit an RBI single in the third inning to drive in the game’s first run, and Clint Cage hit a solo home run in the fourth. Jacob Blissett drove in the game-winning run later in the frame.
Blinn had beaten Panola in three of their four regular-season meetings.
“All in all, it came down to two or three plays,” McIntyre said.
Sophomore right-hander Karl Malecek (6-3, 3.36 ERA) will start for the Buccaneers Sunday. Audio coverage of the game will be streamed online at http://www.tsrnsports.com.
For more information on Blinn baseball, visit www.buccaneersports.com.