PETAL, MS (WDAM) - After a longer-than-expected Friday night waiting to face Terry High School in the opening round of the 6A baseball playoffs, Petal High School wasted no time in taking care of business Saturday afternoon, defeating Terry 11-1.
Braxton Miller drove in four runs with a pair of doubles and Tanner Estill's game-ending, two-run home run off the left-field foul pole in the bottom of the fifth inning cinched Petal's 11-1 walk-off victory at Panther Field.
Coupled with their 4-2 win Friday at Terry, Saturday's victory gave the Panthers (15-11) a sweep of the best-of-three series and sent them into a second-round matchup with Gulfport High School.
Petal coach Larry Watkins said he was especially pleased with the way his team played following a long Friday night. A miscommunication held up the start of the Friday's game by nearly two hours while waiting for the umpiring crew to arrive.
"I was real happy for them to play like this because (Friday night) we had a late one and a long one, with an hour-fifty-minute delay starting the game," Petal coach Larry Watkins said. "That's getting there early and then standing around. We got out of it with a 4-2 win, but there was nothing easy about it."
"So, I was proud of the way that we came back (Saturday) with energy and everybody playing well," Watkins said.
Terry (10-19) saw its season come to an end, checked on just three hits by Petal starter Tyler Dobson (4-3).
"He kept us off-balance with his off-speed stuff," Terry coach Sean Steverson said. "He threw it enough for strikes that it kept it off his fastball, and it kept in there long enough for their hitters to really get on our pitching."
"We kind of reverted back to some things that we thought that we had fixed over the last four weeks or so, the walks and the errors," Steverson said. "It just wasn't a good day for us in that regard."
Petal took a 2-0 lead in the first inning off Bulldogs right-hander Chris Wilson (1-2). Estill singled with one out, took second on a passed ball and scored on Jacob Hall's double down the left-field line.
Courtesy runner Dylan Pylant scored the second run on a passed ball and wild pitch.
Terry cut the lead to 2-1 in the third inning when Chris Dixon tripled over Estill's outstretched glove in center field and Jimmy Burse followed with a hard single through the hole into left field.
But that was it for the Bulldogs, as Dobson allowed just five baserunners on the afternoon and the Panthers played error-free baseball.
Petal took control of the game in the third inning. Zach Parks was hit by a pitch and consecutive walks to Estill and Hall loaded the bases.
Miller followed with a two-run double to score Parks and Estill, and two more runs scored on wild pitches to boost the Panthers' lead to 6-1.
Petal made it 9-1 in the fourth on Miller's second, two-run double and a run-scoring single by Dobson.
"All year I've been seeing it well," Miller said. "But we just wanted to come out, play hard, keep up our intensity and just win the game."
Estill's swat following a walk to Parks did just that.
"I was doing everything in my power to make it stay fair," said Estill, who had two singles to go with his third homer of the season. "But we showed up (Saturday) as a team. We hit the ball and played great defense. Last game, we had five errors, this game we just showed up and played and had none."
Burse had two singles for the Bulldogs, while Miller had a single to go with his two doubles for Petal.
Miller said the Panthers were looking forward to moving on to the next series.