Jackson County beat Prince Avenue 5-3 in Athens Thursday, building a 5-0 lead after four innings en route to winning its season opener.
Jase Latty (1-0) picked up the win in relief, and Patrick Overstreet recorded the save. Jeremy Cook started on the mound, working three hitless innings and striking out five, before reaching his 50-pitch limit. Panther pitching combined for 12 strikeouts.
"I was pleased with how we pitched,” Panther coach Tommy Fountain said. “We pounded the strike zone early in the count. Jeremy Cook looked really good and could have went a lot longer, but we have the guys on a strict pitch count this early in the season.”
Fountain noted that Latty “had some tough luck in the fifth inning,” giving up two unearned runs as a result of two errors.
At the plate, the Panthers pounded out 10 hits in the win. Offensive leaders were Nick Corso (1-for-4, double, walk, run, two steals), Jacob Banks (2-for-3, run, walk), Overstreet (1-for-3, double, walk, run, stolen base), Andrew Fogarty (1-for-3, walk, RBI) and Coleman Barbee (1-for-1, RBI).
Jackson County (1-0) scored three runs in the third inning on four hits — including doubles from Corso and Overstreet — and two Prince Avenue errors. Jackson County added two runs in the fourth inning, capped by a pinch-hit RBI single from Barbee. The Panthers, however, stranded 11 runners, including seven in scoring position.
“I thought we did a good job getting guys on base and even moving them around, but we can't beat the top teams in our region leaving that many runners on base,” Fountain said. “We had a chance to put them away with a big hit in three different innings and just couldn't get it done. We also looked a little sloppy defensively in the fifth inning. I'm not sure if that's because of limited time on the field because of all the weather or if we just got a little complacent with a 5-0 lead. Regardless, we'll get it fixed. It's game one, we'll take a win, and we'll improve."
Jackson County returns to action Tuesday at home (5:55 p.m.) against White County.