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Battling on the ropes

Four unanswered runs, starting in the seventh win it for the Panthers

COUNCIL BLUFFS – Creston baseball trailed 5-2 with two outs in the top of the seventh Tuesday night on the road against Council Bluffs, Thomas Jefferson.

However, the Panthers rallied with three runs in the seventh and a run in the eighth inning to pick up a 6-5 win in extra innings and secure a much happier trip home.

In the top of the seventh Bryce Fitzgerald got on base with a two-out rip where a Yellow Jacket error allowed Fitzgerald to reach base.

A single from Luke Latham and a walk from Keagan Smith loaded the bases for Brayton Chesnut, who poked a single to the right side to score two runs and cut the deficit to one, 5-4.

Britain Miller followed with an RBI single through the right side of the infield, scoring one and knotting the ball game at 5-all before a flyout ended the frame.

Thomas Jefferson put two runners on in the seventh, but a groundout to third base ended the inning with the Panthers unscathed.

Creston picked right back up with the top of the order as Eli Loudon led off the eighth with a single.

Loudon moved to third during Evan Bruce’s at-bat after Bruce pushed the ball off the pitcher’s foot. The Yellow Jackets followed by intentionally walking Gavin Gillam.

Fitzgerald struck out for the second out of the inning, but the ball scooted away from the Yellow Jacket catcher and brought home Loudon for what proved to be the game-winning run.

“You feel fortunate. There was an error in there that got us going,” said Creston head coach Steve Birchard. “It was good for the kids to come through like that. It was a good win.”

Thomas Jefferson came into Tuesday’s contest with a nearly identical record to Creston, posting a 7-21 spread.

Bruce got the starting nod for the Panthers and pitched seven innings on the hill, allowing just two earned runs. Luke Latham came in and recorded a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth to pick up the win.

“He was pretty efficient,” said Birchard of Bruce. “Evan just to get us there was a victory for us.”

TJ got on the board in the first inning with an RBI from Jared Thompson and a run scored by Nathan Newton.

The Panthers answered right back with a two-run single from Loudon, scoring Keagan Smith and Chesnut.

In the bottom half of the third the Yellow Jackets put two more runs on the board before scoring their last run in the sixth. Creston responded with four unanswered runs to win it.

UP NEXT – Creston (8-20) will head to Shenandoah (7-20) for a doubleheader that will begin at 5:30 p.m. today (Wednesday).

Creston 6, Thomas Jefferson 5 (8)

 R  H  E

Cr  020  000  31 —  6  8  4

TJ  202  001  00 —  5  7  3

Cr: Evan Bruce K BB, Luke Latham (8) K BB and Gavin Gillam. TJ: Ryan Steinspring, Grant Merk, Robert Wood and Nathan Newton. W — Latham (1-1). L – N/A. HR — None. 3B – TJ: Steinspring. 2B — Cr: Eli Loudon. TJ: Grant Merk, Robert Wood. RBI — Cr: Loudon (2), Brayton Chesnut (2), Britain Miller, Bryce Fitzgerald. TJ: Jerad Thompson, Merk.

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