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Panthers thump Brookwood in 8-AAAAA battle

Brookwood's Tremayne Toorie (11) dives safely back to first base under the tag of Parkview's Brooks Davis (32) during the Panthers' region victory Friday night.

Brookwood's Tremayne Toorie (11) dives safely back to first base under the tag of Parkview's Brooks Davis (32) during the Panthers' region victory Friday night.

SNELLVILLE -- For nearly four innings of Friday night's baseball game with Region 8-AAAAA leader Parkview, Brookwood did its best Harry Houdini impression.

But after flirting with danger too many times, the Broncos couldn't escape trouble forever.

And the powerful Panthers made them pay, erupting for 16 runs in their final three at-bats to take a 17-5 victory in six innings before a capacity crowd at the Dave Hunter Complex.

Matt Olson went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs at the plate and scattered seven hits and two earned runs in five innings on the mound to help Parkview (20-3, 10-1) clinch at least a share of its first region championship since 2006.

The Panthers can claim the title outright with one more win or one more loss by Grayson in three region games next week, though coach Chan Brown saw more immediate rewards from Friday's win to sweep the neighborhood rivalry with Brookwood (12-10, 7-4).

"It's always a big win because it's Parkview-Brookwood and it's such a great rivalry and they (Brookwood) run such a class program," Brown said. "And the last couple years, they've gotten the best of us."

The Broncos tried to take steps to get the best of Parkview again in the bottom of the first by taking advantage of a rare catcher's interference call, along with three hits, including Trey Martin's two-run single, to take a 2-0 lead.

Parkview looked to answer in the top of the second as an error on Olson's grounder and a walk to Menelik Vereen put runners on first and second with nobody out.

But one out later, Jacob Beauchamp (1-2) threw over to first and caught the Panthers in a double steal, with Vereen being gunned down at second by first baseman Michael Gouge.

The left-hander then struck out Kyle Nerbonne to escape the jam and keep Brookwood in front.

The Panthers did get one of those runs back in the third on Austin Wheeler's RBI high-chop grounder to second.

But once again, Beauchamp was able to limit the damage, striking out Brandon Kregel with the tying run in scoring position to end the inning.

Parkview tied the game in the fourth on Vereen's RBI grounder that turned into an error, though It looked like Beauchamp might continue his escape artistry after one Panther baserunner was gunned downed at the plate and another retired on a routine grounder to short.

"We've had some slow starts this year," said Olson, who started the inning off with a double and scored on Vereen's grounder. "But always know our offense is going to get some runs for us. When we start going, we get a lot of runs."

Indeed, the Panthers didn't panic, and the inning and the Brookwood defense soon began to fall apart.

A two-out walk to David Langley brought up Josh Hart, who sent a dribbler into no man's land between the plate and the mound.

Hart hustled down the line to beat out an RBI infield single, and went to second on a throwing error that brought in another run, giving Parkview a 4-2 lead.

The miscue also opened the floodgates, as another error and Wheeler's RBI bloop single brought home two more runs, extending the Panthers' lead to 6-2.

"You can't give breaks like that to Parkview," Brookwood coach Rick Howard said. "They're that good. They swing the bats extremely well."

The Panthers drove home that point in the fifth after Brookwood pulled to within 6-3 on Reeves Blankenship's RBI single in the bottom of the fourth.

Parkview had six hits and a walk in the first seven hitters -- with the big blows being RBI singles from Kyle Nerbonne, Langley and Hart and a two-run single by Kenny Miller.

When the dust settled, 12 Panther hitters had come to the plate, with eight touching home to expand the lead to 14-3.

Brookwood extended the game another inning with two runs in the bottom of the inning, but Parkview answered with three more in the sixth to end the game on the 10-run rule.

Hart joined Olson with three hits on the night, while Langley finished the game 2-for-3. Wheeler wound up with three RBIs on the night, while Hart, Miller, Kregel and Olson drove in two runs apiece. Tremayne Toorie was one of the few bright spots on the night for Brookwood by going a perfect 3-for-3 and scoring a run.