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MHS Wildcats down Petal

By Staff
YOUR OUT!- Merdian's Bobby Stone puts the tag on Petal's Josh Hinton as he tries to dodge it to get to the plate.PHOTO BY PAULA MERRITT / THE MERIDIAN STAR
By Jamie Sullivan/staff writer
April 21, 2002
The Meridian Wildcats knocked off the Petal Panthers Saturday afternoon 9-4, advancing to the second round of the Class 5A State Playoffs.
Meridian head coach Vince McLemore said the the Wildcats were able to bounce back from Friday's game two, 6-3 loss, by playing smart.
McLemore said he never doubted his team's performance Saturday.
Former Meridian player and graduate Larry Watkins is in control of the Panthers, and he said his Panthers did not play well.
Watkins was a member of the Class 5A State Championship team in 1971 at Meridian High School.
McLemore said he felt Greg Harris contributed a lot in the series win.
Meridian pitcher, John Iverson retired the side for the Wildcats, to give his team a chance to go on top early.
The Wildcats followed Iverson's lead, by dropping four runs on the Panthers on two hits and two Panther errors, to take a quick 4-0 lead after the first inning.
Petal got a run in the second inning, when Patrick Ezell crossed the plate to make the score 4-1.
Meridian was not bothered by the run, tacking on two more runs on to its lead in the second inning when Bobby Stone and Richmond Alexander reached. The Wildcats got a help by three Petal errors in the inning making the score 6-1.
Petal missed a chance to get back into the game loading the bases with no out. But Meridian held the Panthers to just one run when Chris Pierce scored on a RBI single by Walt Thomas, cutting the Cats lead to 6-2. A would-be third run was cut down at the plate on a good throw by Wildcat left-fielder Andy Slayton.
In the Wildcat fifth, Torry Bates slammed his eighth home run of the season. The two-run shot which also scored John Stevens made it 8-2.
The Wildcats got a ninth run in the sixth when Stone and then scored on a RBI hit by Alexander.
The Panthers scrapped up two more runs in the final inning, on a two-run homer from Brett Hoeflich.
Meridian was led in hitting by Alexander with a double and a single, while Bates added a two-run blast in the fifth inning.
Tyler Maxwell got the win in relief of starter John Iverson for the 31-5 Cats. Iverson went the three innings before wildness brought Maxwell in. Corey Bass suffered the loss for the Panthers.
Meridian will face the winner of the Moss Point-Long Beach series. The Wildcats will have to travel to the coast for game one on Friday. Petal will finish the year at 20-11.

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