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Lamb, White shut down Southland

Mar. 20—CHULA — Tiftarea Academy rode its pitching to a 2-0 record in GIAA District 3-AAA Tuesday, March 19, winning a quick 3-2 game over Southland Academy.

Pitching and defense have been very important for head coach Chance Benson's young Panthers as their bats start to catch up. Winston Lamb and John Michael White were nearly spotless in their roles toeing rubber on the mound. Benson said he's not surprised at the 2-0 start in 3-AAA.

The start isn't the only good news. Tiftarea is hopeful of a boost soon from the return of Robert Garner. Injuries have cost Garner 1.5 years, and he's chomping at the bit for his final clearance to take the mound.

Nearly all of Tuesday's runs came early. Southland scored once in the 1st and the Panthers scored all three of their tallies.

Mac McMichael plated in the 1st for Southland on a double by Trey Sellers. Lamb successfully worked out of a bases loaded situation with a third-out strikeout.

The Panthers responded quickly.

John Jackson led off with a single up the middle and promptly stole second. Jackson Parrish reached based on a walk. Lane Cole dropped a squeeze bunt and when Southland attempted to nail Jackson at third, the throw was wild and Jackson easily scored.

Lamb drove in Parrish and Cole with a single to center, giving Tiftarea a 3-1 lead.

Asher Cox walked to have two runners on with no outs, but the Raiders turned a double play and got a strikeout to escape further damage.

After the adventurous opening frame, both teams were extremely quiet.

Lamb struck out two in the 2nd and 5th and the side in the 4th. Over those four innings, Southland had only a single baserunner.

Perry Usher began the 6th with a double, moving over to third on deep foul fly. After Sellers walked, the Raiders used a delayed double steal on a strikeout to get Usher home.

With Lamb now in scoring position, Lamb got a flyout to left to end the half-inning.

White came on in the 7th and, pitching like Billy Wagner in his prime, mowed through Southland , fanning the side. After being congratulated by teammates, White provided another highlight, a standing backflip.

Tiftarea found runs impossible to come by after the 1st.

They loaded the bases with Jackson, Parrish and Cole in the 2nd, but were unable to score. Only three other Panthers reached base in the game.

Jackson finished with two hits. Lamb struck out nine and White fanned three.

Tiftarea is scheduled to play at Southland Thursday.

Benson also announced a makeup date for the rained out Valwood game: April 22.