May 15—AMORY — With their season on the line, Amory came through to force a third game against county and division rival Nettleton on Friday night.
The Panthers (23-10) broke a 6-6 tie in the bottom of the sixth with a big inning and took a 12-6 victory to force the deciding Game 3 on Saturday at 2 p.m. The winner will face Booneville in the North finals.
"I told the team before the game that I wasn't ready for this to be over with, and whatever you do to play for your brothers in the dugout and good things will happen," said senior shortstop Hunter Jones, who paced the offense with three hits, including two in the sixth. "Coming away with 12 runs against a good team like that is huge."
Nettleton (22-10) struck early, with three runs in the first that included Adam Adkins smashing a leadoff triple and scoring on an error.
Amory countered by taking a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the inning, tying it on Bo Rock's RBI double and going ahead on Walker Maranto's infield single.
Davis Oswalt smashed a two-run homer to get the Tigers back on top
The Panthers tied the game in the fourth on Bryce Glenn's hit and Reed Stanford's fielder's choice, then sent 12 to the plate in the fifth.
Jones started off the rally with a base hit and drove in the last two runs with a single to center, and Maranto, Stanford and Clayton Reese also picked up RBIs in the frame.
Tyler Sledge went the distance in getting the win, striking out 11 on the night, including the side in the seventh.
"I'm glad when these guys are backed into a corner, they kept fighting," Amory coach Cade Hoggard said. "Sledge had some bad luck early, but he settled in, and that's a pitching performance when we needed it."
Big Inning: In the top of the sixth, a baserunning blunder with two on and one out turned into an inning-ending double play. Amory countered with their six runs in the bottom half.
Big Stat: Nettleton made five errors and issued seven walks on the night.
Coach Speak: "Hunter had a big night, and you know when the lights come in a big situation, there's no one we want more than No. 1 out there." — Hoggard on his senior's three-hit night