The Russellville Panthers roster includes only two Seniors this season. George Ortiz and Colby Nichols were the men of honor for Senior Night against Butler County on Thursday. Both Seniors pitched in the 6-5 win over the Bears from Morgantown.
The Panthers (10-16) scored two quick runs in the bottom of the 1st inning. TK Hampton knocked a double to center field to score Jordan Blick, who led off the inning with a single. Colby Nichols hit a single, scoring Hampton. The score remained 2-0 until the top of the 4th inning. Butler County broke up the shutout by scoring on a wild pitch. Russellville’s Rooster Woodard singled in the bottom half of the inning to get that run back. TK Hampton scored on the play, making it 3-1 after four innings of play.
Butler County would not give up. The Bears tacked on another score in the 5th, drawing closer at 2-3. The Panthers went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning setting up momentum for the Bears. The visitors jumped ahead in the top of the 6th, adding three more runs. Russellville stayed in a 5-3 hole until the bottom of the 7th inning.
Woodard led off the last inning with a walk. Brennan Hughes followed up with a single to right field. The next batter, Dylan Porter, drew a walk. Suddenly, the Panthers had bases loaded with nobody out. The Bears then recorded the first out of the inning with a strikeout. Jordan Blick stayed patient and walked, forcing in a run. The Panthers were now down 5-4 with bases loaded and one out. The second out would result from another strikeout. Down to their last hope, the Panthers would send TK Hampton to the plate with bases loaded. Hampton popped up just behind the pitcher’s mound. The Butler County shortstop made an error that he will not soon forget. The ball popped out of his glove, allowing the fifth run to cross the plate. With bases loaded and the score tied at five, Senior Colby Nichols forced the winning walk from the Butler County pitcher. Panthers won 6-5.
TK Hampton and Colby Nichols each had two hits. Jordan Blick, Rooster Woodard, and Brennan Hughes each hit singles. Nichols had two RBIs.
The starter, Nichols, went five innings. He recorded four strikeouts, allowed two runs, and gave up five hits. Rooster Woodard briefly followed the Senior, but only threw nine pitches. Senior George Ortiz came in to toss an inning. Ortiz struck out one Bear, gave up a run, and allowed one hit. Dillon Porter closed out the game on the hill for the Panthers. Porter picked up the win. He struck out one, walked one, and gave up one hit.
Russellville was scheduled to play Franklin-Simpson (18-15) Monday in the 13th District tournament at Todd County.