(Fayetteville, Ga) – In baseball, there is an art and fearlessness that comes with getting hit by a pitch. It is the ultimate “take one for the team” act, to stand in the box with a baseball hurled towards the batter. Starr’s Mill first baseman Ben Moseley has perfected the skill this season with 13 hit by pitches so far.
None have been bigger than the one he took in the eighth inning of the Panthers game against the Harris County Tigers Friday night. With the bases loaded, Moseley was plunked on an inside pitch for a 4-3 walk off win.
Both teams came into the game tied for the top spot in Region 2-5A. With the win, the Panthers (15-7) took a one game lead in the region standings.
The Tigers got on the board quickly, they scored two in the top of the first inning when University of West Georgia signee Nick Morgan doubled to left to score the first two runs of the game. Panther starting pitcher Bryson Daniel was able to get out of the inning without further damage.
The Panthers answered in the bottom of the first when South Carolina signee Thad Ector led off with a triple and scored on a Sean White ground out to shortstop.
From there, the game became a pitching dual between the Tigers Cole Mathis who is headed to play college baseball at the College of Charleston and Daniel.
Daniel was forced to pitch out of two stressful situations. The Tigers had an out at the plate in the top of the fourth. An inning later, they had second and third with two outs but failed to capitalize.
With the game going into the late innings, the Panthers made their move down by a run. Sean White led off the bottom of the sixth with a single and ended up at third after a passed ball and a sacrifice by Chay Yeager. With two outs, Orlando Angulo had an epic at bat. After falling behind 0-2 by taking two breaking ball for strikes, Angulo battled for eight more pitches before getting a hit up the middle.
White had already scored on a wild pitch during the Angulo at bat to tie the game. Freshman Heath Whitlock hit a double to score Angulo and the Panthers had their first lead of the night at 3-2.
Unfortunately, the Tigers scratched an unearned run across in the top of the seventh to tie the game. The Panthers loaded the bases in the bottom in the seventh and looked to walk-off then, but Tigers’ Morgan fielded a hard-hit ball at third, stepped on the bag and through across for an inning ending double play.
University of Georgia commit and Panther pitcher Josh Tate retired the Tigers in order in the top of the eight to set up the walk-off magic. Daniel Courtney led off with a single. Angulo (yes, him again with another late inning huge at bat) was safe on a bunt that moved Courtney up to third.
Eli Jones walked to load the bases and Moseley ended it with his left elbow when he got hit. Head Coach Moseley and Ben’s dad quipped, “I taught him how to take one.”
Tate got the win in two innings of relief work with four strikeouts.
Remainder of Panthers 2021 Regular Season Schedule
Tuesday, 4/6 at Northgate
Thursday, 4/8 Parkview – DH
Friday, 4/9 Griffin
Tuesday, 4/13 Whitewater
Thursday, 4/15 at McIntosh
Friday, 4/16 at Northside Columbus
Going to the Next Level
Once again, Head Coach Brent Moseley’s program had another bumper crop of college signees. Included in the 2021 class are:
Ryder Wagenknecht – Flagler College
Declan Dun – Georgia Southern
Chay Yeager – Wofford College
Sean White – Georgia Southern
Thad Ector – University of South Carolina
Eli Jones – University of South Carolina
Daniel Courtney – University of North Georgia
A Look Back
The Panthers and Tigers played each other in the second round of the state playoffs back in May 2018. The Panthers swept the Tigers in two one-run games to advance to the third round, where they defeated Carrollton.
Starr’s Mill got two complete games, one from Hayes Heinecke (now pitching at Wofford) and Dawson Sweatt (now pitching at Georgia State).
Thad Ector, who was a freshman, hit lead off for the Panthers during the two-game sweep.
Going Even Further Back
In May of 2014, the Panthers and the Tigers met in the second round of the state playoffs. Starr’s won the series 2-1 with a 10-2 win over the Tigers in Game 3.
J.D. Masters was the winning pitcher for the Panthers, while Patrick Mullins, Eric Sutliff, Adam Goodman and Seth White led the Starr’s Mill offense.
The Panthers would lose in the next round to Gainesville, who featured Michael Gettys on their roster. Gettys just finished spring training this year with the Boston Red Sox where he hit .290 with a homerun. He has been assigned to their AAA affiliate.