Wednesday, March 26, the East Gadsden High School Jaguars hosted the West Gadsden High School Panthers for their first head-to-head battle of the baseball season. The Jaguars took advantage of several errors committed by the Panthers during the first two innings of play, jumping out to a 7-2 lead.
East Gadsden experienced some trying times on the mound at the start of the third inning, and as a result West Gadsden began to claw their way back into the game.
Senior outfielders Ronald Pinkney and Jo’quan Barnes started the rally as they combined to score two quick runs at the top of the third inning to cut into the Jaguar lead by a score of 7-4. The momentum continued to swing over to the Panther dugout and at the end of the third inning, the Jaguars’ commanding lead had been cut to a small 8-6 advantage heading into the fourth inning.
East Gadsden’s Head Coach Ronald Estelle began to intensify his verbal instruction towards his team, and players such as John Kelley and Marquis Hatten began to respond by getting on base and scoring.
The Jaguars had a productive fourth inning and were able to extend their lead by a score of 12-6.
The next two innings were filled with errant pitches by the Jaguars, which lead to walks and scoring opportunities for the Panthers.
West Gadsden took a 15-14 lead during the top of the six inning and began to pull away as from their cross county rivals. Panther pitcher Josh Betton closed out the sixth inning with some precision pitching, striking out two of his last three batters.
West Gadsden held a 20-16 advantage heading into the final inning. Ultimately, the Jaguars were unable to produce anymore runs during the seventh inning as the Panthers went on to celebrate a 21-16 victory.
After the game West Gadsden’s Head Coach Romeko Baker paused to share these thoughts: “Feels good it was a rivalry game, and we’ve lost to them the last three years. I feel good right now.”