FLORENCE, S.C. – Cory Rhodes gave the King Tornado a second consecutive quality start, tossing eight solid innings of work to keep his team in the game. Day one of the Auddie Brown Classic needed extra innings to see out a winner with the Tornado falling short, 3-1, in ten frames.
After a 1-2-3 top of the 10th inning, Young Harris ended the game with a one swing of the bat and a two-run home run by Jack Morrow. Dustin Pannell (Aiken, S.C.) finished out the ninth inning in relief of David Pritchard and returned to work the tenth. Morrow entered the game as a pinch hitter with one man on after Trey Rogers hit a one-out, Texas-League single that fell inside the right field line. Morrow took Pannell's 0-1 pitch and hit the walk-off, game-winning home run over the left field fence to give the Mountain Lions a 3-1 victory of King. Pannell took the loss, his first of the season.
Rhodes pitched eight near-flawless innings, allowing only one run in 27 batters faced. The lone run he allowed came in the third inning when Young Harris third baseman Sam Tarlton singled through the left side then swiped second base before scoring on a Spencer Thomas RBI single up the middle. Rhodes retired the next 14 batters in a row, during which he notched all five of his strikeouts. Beside the scoring run, no Mountain Lion reached second base against Rhodes.
King (1-3) took an early first inning lead when Cody Snyder (Bluff City, Tenn.) hit a one-out triple in his first at-bat to deep center field, setting up Carl Roberts (Blountville, Tenn.) for a run scoring single through the middle. Roberts advanced to second when Huffman followed with a single to right, but Young Harris starter Adam Moore retired the side before any more damage was done.
The Tornado threatened to take a lead in the eighth inning, placing a man on second with one out. Timberlake walked to lead off the inning and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Orndorff. Timberlake moved to third when Snyder grounded out to the right side and Robert came up just short, lining out to YHC first baseman, Dom Wyshinski, to end the inning.
Moore went 6.2 innings and allowed one run on six hits, striking out six Tornado hitters along the way. Merritt took the win, pitching 3.1 innings of relief until the game-decided hit was recorded.
King will play two on Sunday, Feb. 12, including one game against preseason No. 1 Francis Marion in the nightcap. They will open against Young Harris in a rematch of today's battle at 12:00 p.m. and finish the day by playing the Patriots at 3:00 p.m., tentatively.