It was a game that the North Lamar Panthers seemed to have in control. North Lamar held a 6-2 lead going into the sixth inning and a 7-3 lead heading to the bottom of the seventh. That's when it unraveled as North Lamar lost game one to Van 8-7.
North Lamar started the game with the way they start most games, a walk by Brayden Steed. A sacrifice bunt, a ground out and an error all contributed to Steed scoring the first run of the game to put North Lamar up 1-0. Van would put two up in the bottom of the inning off an error and a couple singles.
The big inning for North Lamar came in the top of the fourth. North Lamar sent eight men to the plate and scored four of them. Tyler Biard reached base on an error by the short stop. Two wild pitches later, Biard was standing on third base. Sam Cowling worked a walk for North Lamar. A pickoff attempt by pitcher Garin Shelton went wide of first base and down the right field fence. Biard scored and Cowling wound up at third.
Steed would single and score Cowling to put North Lamar up 4-2. Chad Box would be hit by a pitch. After a successful sacrifice bunt attempt by Trey Scudder, Kevin Dickey hit the base of the left field wall, scoring Steed and Box. North Lamar now had a comfortable 6-2 lead with their ace on the hill.
Senior Ty Jones was settling in nicely for North Lamar. After the two-run first, Van didn't manage another run until the sixth inning. It was then they scored another run. Two singles and an error loaded the bases with one out. Another North Lamar error would push across the third run for Van. It was then, though, that Ty got Sean Beasley to line out to Steed at second base. Steed flipped to first for the double play as Jax Tobias couldn't get back in time.
North Lamar would add another run in the seventh on an Evan Niblett sacrifice fly. North Lamar only needed three outs to finish off game one. Van had a different idea in mind, though. Brett Doring started off the inning with a walk. Cooper Bledsoe struck out looking. A single and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for Van. Cole Newsom and Jacoby Bogue hit back-to-back two-run singles to tie the game for Van. After a few pitches, Bogue found himself at third base thanks to a couple of steals. With two-outs, Tobias hit a shot down the third-base line that scored Bogue and ended the game.
The Van faithful erupted in cheers as the North Lamar fans sat stunned and amazed. Game two of this series will be played Friday night at Mt. Pleasant High School at 7:30.