Photo: Karl L. Moore Grayson first baseman Taylor Allum (13) applies the tag on Parkview's Micah Finley (24) for the out at first during Friday night's game at Parkview.
LILBURN -- As far as Hunter Thornton was concerned, Grayson standout Austin Meadows had done enough damage for one night.
The Parkview catcher gunned down the nation's top-rated high school prospect trying to steal third while representing the potential tying run to snuff out a Rams rally in the top of the seventh, helping preserve the Panthers' 7-6 win Friday at Hugh Buchanan Field.
Thornton also had a hit in the middle of a two-out, four-run rally in the bottom of the fifth that helped Parkview (4-1, 2-0) erase early Grayson (4-4, 1-1) leads of 5-0 and 6-3 to get a key early-season Region 8-AAAAAA victory.
"Both groups came out ready to play," Parkview coach Chan Brown said. "Down 5-0, the kids could've shut it down, but they didn't, and it paid off for them. I'm proud of them.
"(Friday) night's game is a momentum builder. Now, we've got to build off it and get better day after day."
The Panthers found themselves in a big early hole after Meadows blasted a two-run home run in the top of the first and Jeril Dawson added a three-run homer an inning later to give Grayson a 5-0 lead.
Daino Deas helped pull Parkview to within 5-3 with a three-run bomb of his own in the bottom of the second, but it looked like Meadows had given the Rams momentum back by manufacturing an insurance run with his legs in the top of the fifth.
The 6-foot-3, 212-pound center fielder legged out a slow roller to second to lead off the inning, then stole second and third and then scampered home when Thornton's low throw bounced away from third baseman Rob Youngblood to extend Grayson's lead to 6-3.
It was a throw, and a corresponding mechanical error, Thornton would remember.
"The first throw, I felt myself pulling off," Thonton said. "But I fixed it in the dugout (between innings)."
It was a correction that would pay dividends later in the game, but not before Parkview put together a clutch two-out rally in the bottom of the inning.
Thornton sandwiched a single between RBI hits from Josh Hart and Micah Finley to pull Parkview to within 6-5 before the Panthers took advantage of a wild pitch and a balk to not only catch the Rams, but grab their first lead of the night at 7-6.
Grayson wasn't done yet, especially after Meadows led off the top of the seventh with a double to the gap in left-center -- his third hit of the night.
After Sam McCoy induced a pop-up to third from Taylor Allum, Grayson coach Jed Hixson decided to roll the dice by giving Meadows and his blazing speed the green light.
But the third time was the charm for Thornton, who threw a strike to third to allow Youngblood to make the slap tag for the out.
"(The situation was) really not going to change how we play. We were going to be aggressive," Hixson said. "We just wanted to let (Meadows) play. It just didn't work out."
Thornton's play became even bigger when Brandon Benson sent a grounder into the hole between first and second for an infield single.
But McCoy buckled down and struck out Korey Anderson to end Grayson's attempt at a rally, and the game, and pick up his first save of the year.
Andrew Dorminey (1-0) threw of an inning, pitching around a walk and a hit and striking out one, to pick up the win in relief of Parkview starter Mac Marshall.
Finley, meanwhile, had a huge night at the plate for the Panthers by going 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI, while McCoy also had a hit and an RBI.