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Maxwell baseball tradition is alive and well
The names may change over the years, but one thing remains a constant for the Maxwell High baseball team — the Panthers always seem to win.
Since the 2003 season, Maxwell has appeared in the Northern Section championship game all 10 years while winning six titles moving up and down between Divisions V and VI.
And while program patriarch Eric Lay has moved across county to take over at Colusa High, the Panthers' winning ways have continued in 2013.
On Thursday, it was more of the same, as Maxwell rode the right arm of junior Trent Mathis and the bat of junior lead-off hitter Bryce Perry to pick up a 13-3 nonleague victory over Faith Christian in Yuba City.
The Panthers (5-2) jumped on the Lions early by taking a 7-0 lead after two innings and Mathis did the rest by taking a no-hitter into the fifth while tossing a complete-game two-hitter.
"We're right where we want to be right now. We've got a good group and every game we want to get better," said Maxwell assistant Leo LeGrande, who was filling in while first-year coach Forrest Bateman was away on family business. "We just need to clean up the little things and execute better heading into league."
Maxwell collected 10 hits in the game and Perry did most of the damage by going 3 for 3 with three walks and three runs scored. David Lee finished 2 for 5 with a double and two RBIs, while Blake Vierra and Devin Lee drove in two runs apiece.
Russell Jones, the Panthers' lone senior starter, hit a two-run double as well in the victory.
"We have a few new people, but a lot of us are returners," said Perry, the cousin of former Panther standout and 2011 graduate Steven Perry. "We've really come together as a team and we're starting to fire on all cylinders."
Getting on the same page will be paramount for a Maxwell team that was bumped up from the Five-Star League to the Mid-Valley League this season.
Instead of competing against smaller schools such as Chester, Hayfork and Redding Christian, the Panthers will now have to compete with the likes of Colusa and Portola for a league title.
"We're a Division VI team playing against Division IV and V schools," LeGrande added. "We've got to get ready because we've got league coming up and it's a tough league."
As for the Lions (3-3), it was the simple game of playing catch that was the biggest problem on Thursday.
Three Faith Christian pitchers combined to issue 13 walks and hit two batters, while the Lions' defense committed six errors behind them in the loss.
"We're all competitive, but I feel we lost that game more than they beat us," said first-year Lions coach Brad Indelicato. "I've got to give Maxwell credit, but we're a much better team than we showed today.
"We only have 12 players, so we're lean, but if we play the game we're capable of we'll be all right."
Joe Valrey and Austin Cooper recorded the lone hits for the Lions, who are off until April 2 when they host Brookside Christian of Stockton.
The Panthers will host the Maxwell Tournament today and Saturday.