Jackson Parker’s grand slam in the bottom of the third inning for Stringer was enough to make any team throw in the towel – but not Perry Central.
Erasing a six-run deficit, highlighted by senior Jessie Meeler’s second three-run home run Monday night, Perry Central scored seven unanswered runs to down Stringer 13-11 on Day 1 of Stringer’s Spring Break Baseball Tournament.
“This was a big stride for our team,” said Perry Central head coach Josh Anderson. “In the past, I’ve had a young group, and when we get down, especially when we have three bad innings as we did, we would shut it down and hung our heads. But this group all year long has preserved through those, kept their heads up and fight to the end. It showed tonight.”
It was Anderson’s first trip to Stringer since taking the head coaching job at Perry Central in 2015. Anderson was Stringer’s ace pitcher for multiple seasons in the early 2000s. He said the win was “sweet.”
“It’s always sweet to especially get the win against them,” Anderson said. “I have all the respect in the world for Stringer. They’re a good ball team. Coach Weathers does a great job. But like I told my team before, every coach has that one team they want to beat and Stringer was it. I was proud that we got the win here.”
Meeler led Perry Central at the plate, driving in a total of six runs on two 3-run home runs. The senior finished 3-of-4 at the plate.
In between Meeler’s three-run home run in the first and three-run bomb in the sixth, he led off the fifth inning with a double. Meeler later scored in the inning to draw Perry Central within four runs of Stringer, 11-7.
The three-run shot in the sixth put Perry Central within one, 11-10.
“Meeler is hot at the plate right now for us,” said Anderson. “When he is on, he is tough to get out. He just has that Bulldog mentality, and he’s a hard worker. He deserves it, and I’m proud of him.”
Perry Central scattered a 16-hits in the contest. Kevin Lindsey and A.J. Sparks also had three hits. Lindsey’s single in the top of the seventh scored Perry Central’s 13th run of the night as part of a three-run inning that put the Bulldogs ahead.
Zac Clark, Noad Hillman and Brantley Pipkins collected multiple hits as well.
After pulling in front of Stringer 3-0 in the top of the first, Perry Central gave up five runs in the bottom of the first. After two previous pitching changes, the Bulldogs settled for Hillman on the mound. Hillman struck out two Stringer batters consecutively with the bases loaded to get Perry Central out of a jam that could have caused further damage.
“Hillman been huge for us all year,” said Anderson. “He doesn’t throw real hard, but he mixes all his pitches up and throws strikes. He has control of the strike zone.
“The other two guys that started are normally pretty good. They just didn’t have their stuff tonight. But Hillman who is a senior stepped up, and that is what he has done all year.”
Hillman pitched 6.2 innings and gave up six earned runs on six hits and struck out seven.
Parker, who notched a gram slam for Stringer in the bottom of the third, led the Red Devils with two hits and five RBI in the loss.
Perry Central improves to 7-3 on the season. Stringer falls to 3-6.