With an 8-7 victory over Oak Grove Tuesday night, Petal won the regular season series against their rival for the first time since 2012. Zach Parks’ two-run double in the sixth inning proved to be the difference for the Panthers, who improved to 12-6 overall and 7-3 in district play with the win.
Petal jumped out to a 4-0 lead with a pair of two-run first and second innings. Oak Grove answered with a run in their half of the second and a four-run third to take a 5-4 lead. Both teams added two runs in the fourth inning, as the Warriors took a 7-6 advantage into fifth. Then, in the sixth, Parks added his 13th and 14th RBI of the season with his game-winning double.
With an 8-7 lead and six outs away from the win, the Panthers turned to Nate Oswalt out of the bullpen to finish the job. In his two innings of work, the senior didn’t give up a single hit and struck out four Warrior batters, closing the door on any potential Oak Grove comeback.
Matt Mercer got the start on the mound for Petal and went two innings. Tyler Dobson followed with three innings and two strikeouts before Oswalt took over.
Aside from Parks’ two-run double, the Panthers were led offensively by a 3-for-5 day at the plate from Hunter Dykes and a two RBI performance out of Colton Rainey.
Petal now has three, non-division games remaining on its schedule before the playoffs begin. The Panthers will be a three seed heading into the postseason.
On the other side, regardless of the loss, Oak Grove captured the Region 5-6A crown. In a three-way tie for first place with the Panthers and George County, the Warriors owned the tiebreaker and therefore will be the number one seed.
The Warriors were led in Tuesday’s loss by Cade Cuevas, Noah Harris and Tanner Slay, all of which drove in two runs apiece. Hayes Maples added two hits for Oak Grove, who fell to 13-7 with the loss.