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E. Paulding puts Panthers season in park

By Jeffrey Armstrong

Friday the 13th was certainly bad luck for the Forest Park Panthers baseball team, as they were upset by the No. 4 seeded East Paulding Raiders in two games, 17-1 and 13-4, at Forest Park High.

Forest Park's magical season, one where it clinched a state-playoff berth for the first time in 20 years, ended with a 17-8 record, while East Paulding advanced to play at Eastside in the second round.

Forest Park couldn't find any sort of rhythm Friday. Pitchers walked 23 batters and committed six errors combined in both games.

"We played pretty badly tonight. I have no idea if it was nerves or what, it just wasn't our night at all," said Panthers head coach Michael Breedlove. "I'm proud of this team, however – these games won't take away what we accomplished this year."

East Paulding 17, Forest Park 1 (game one): Every East Paulding batter scored at least one run in this contest as Panthers pitching and errors led to a 7-0 deficit after four innings. East Paulding batted around in the sixth, scoring 10 runs for the final margin. Forest Park freshman catcher Cody McKinney singled home Antonio Kendrick for the Panthers' lone run.

East Paulding 13, Forest Park 4 (game two): Forest Park held a 4-1 lead after two and a half innings, but the Raiders exploded for five runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead to take the lead for good at 6-4. East Paulding added plenty of insurance in the bottom of the fifth with a six-run rally that upped the lead to 12-4.

Forest Park cranked 11 hits, but was shut out from the third inning on. Panthers catcher Greg Ramsey went 3-for-3 with a run and two RBIs. Three other Panthers had two hits apiece.