January 30, 2023 - Panola College Baseball opened up the 2023 campaign this past weekend. The newly renovated Jim Reeves Memorial Turf field was nothing short of spectacular. The Ponies took the first two games of the series on Friday, and then Saturday’s contest was cancelled due to rain after attempting to play.
Panola and Carl Albert squared off on Friday, January 27 with a double header at 2pm. Nathan Love (Magnolia, TX), a freshman RHP, took the hill for his first collegiate start. He tossed a competitive 2.1 innings to get the season off to a good start. Caleb Chacon (Allen, TX) and Koen VanTKlooster (Netherlands) pitched the final 4.2 innings and struck out 10 batters. Love, Chacon, and VanTKlooster looked great in their first collegiate appearances.
The offense led by returning All Conference Players Haziel Cruz (Puerto Rico) and Austin Morgan (Carthage, TX) exploded for 9 runs in Game 1. Freshman SS Raphael Smeenk (Netherlands) launched the first Homerun of the season which was also his first collegiate hit. Cruz and freshman catcher Luca Pastor (Netherlands) also recorded 2 hits in the opening bout.
Panola won game 1 by a score of 9-5
Game 2 of the double header was an exciting one. Freshman LHP Easton Ballard (Gilmer, TX) was sensational in his first ever start going 3.2 innings and giving up no runs and striking out 5. Due to Carl Alberts inability to command the strike zone early, Panola jumped out to a quick 7-0 after the first inning. The Panola offense was stymied for the better part of the game until the 7th inning where they scored 2 more runs which proved to be the difference maker. Peter Werth (Tyler, TX) had 2 RBI and a big triple which helped the offense. After seeing the lead dwindle to just 1 run, freshman RHP Sam Simmons (Manvel, TX) recorded the final 1.1 innings and struck out 2 recording his first ever save and securing the victory in game 2 for the home team.
Panola won game 2 by a score of 9-8 and took the series.
Game 3 on Saturday was attempted to be played. Both teams battled the rain during batting practice. After 3.1 innings the game was suspended and therefore cancelled due to not meeting the 5 inning requirement for it to count. The Ponies were leading 5-1 and were already playing better than Friday’s double header.
The #PonyBoys (Panola Baseball) will be back in action this week at home against Northeastern Oklahoma.