Pioneer’s Tucker Waddups fired a three-hit shutout to lead the Panthers past West Central 2-0 Friday in the first round of the Class A Tri-County Sectional.
The sophomore right-hander struck out 12 and walked none in the win.
“He pitched very well, obviously, and we made some good defensive plays behind him too,” Pioneer coach Dick Farrer said. “We took the bunt away from them. That’s what they felt like they could do against us. The kids did a nice job defensively.”
The Panthers managed just two runs on five hits against West Central starter Lucas Owens but it was more than enough for Waddups.
Waddups helped himself with an RBI single in the first inning that scored Carter Ulrich who had reached with a hit to give the Panthers an early 1-0 lead.
The Panthers struck again in the second when Austin Harmon laid down a successful squeeze bunt that scored Jared Brumett to make it 2-0.
Josh Johnson added a double for the Panthers.
“Both teams played really good defense,” Farrer said. “They made a lot of plays. We only struck out three times. They just played solid defense.”
The game was similar to the regular-season game when Waddups outdueled Owens in a 2-1 Panthers win.
Pioneer (9-14) will face South Newton at 1 p.m. in today’s sectional semifinal. South Newton defeated North Miami 5-4 in eight innings Friday. Pioneer junior left-hander Deven Smith (5-3) takes a 1.86 ERA into the semifinal game.
Tri-County faces No. 6 North White, which survived a scare against Caston Thursday, in the 11 a.m. semifinal. The final is set for 5:30 p.m. Monday.