by Rusty Ellis
The Stone Memorial Panthers got an excellent start by Braden Looper and overcame an early 2-0 deficit to take down Livingston Academy 4-2 on Tuesday night.
Livingston senior Aaron Moffitt got the scoring started in this one, as he drilled a two-out solo home run to right field to give the Wildcats an early 1-0 lead. Moffitt also got off to a hot start on the mound, as he would throw four innings of one-run ball with nine strikeouts and just a pair of walks.
The Wildcats added onto their lead in the third inning with a sacrifice fly from Zach Cotterman, but from this point forward, it was the Braden Looper show on the mound for Stone.
The Panthers got on the board in the fourth inning with Talyn Hurd RBI double, and then they took the lead with a three-run fifth inning that was punctuated by Killian Diem’s two-run double off of Dawson Ledbetter.
Looper closed things down by tossing four scoreless innings in a row, finishing the game with a complete-game win, with four strikeouts and just the two runs allowed.
A gutsy effort by his Panthers, head coach Trent Stokes says Looper’s performance on the mound really complimented his teammates’ production at the plate.
“Moffitt did a great job early, but we had a freshman in Talyn Hurd that came up big and got us the first run,” Stokes said. “Got to give it to Looper, he gave up the couple of runs early, but after that, he just dialed in and our defense played really well behind him.”
Looper got better as the night wore on, and each time he got back to the dugout, he continued to tell Stokes that he wanted to go the distance.
“He kept his pitch count low enough to where we were able to do that,” Stokes said. “He’s taken care of his body really well from football to baseball, so he’s a guy we trust to go out there and take care of business.”
As far as what made the difference for his guys at the plate, Stokes said he saw a build-up of confidence as the game went along. Though they didn’t cash in a few early opportunities, he knew it was just a matter of time.
“We just got some confidence going, early on we got some runners in scoring position, but we just couldn’t get that big hit to bring them home,” Stokes said. “Finally it happened for us, and from there, the confidence just took over and we got the runs we needed to win that game.”
Stone Memorial will host these same Livingston Academy Wildcats on Wednesday at 5:30 P.M.
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