June 16, 2024

Panthers, Cyclones split doubleheader

Designated hitter Mattias Schultes rounds for third base in the second game Tuesday during a doubleheader with Harlan. The Panthers won the first game 2-1 but fell 12-1 in the next match.

Just as the Hawkeye 10 doubleheader between Creston (6-3) and Harlan (6-2) began Tuesday, Cyclones senior Cade Sears hit a home run.

Though Creston senior pitcher Cael Turner had given up the run on his first batter of the night, he wouldn’t give up any others.

The teams split the doubleheader, Creston coming back to win the first 2-1 and Harlan running away with a 12-1 victory in game two.

“We split on the night against a very good Harlan team,” Creston Coach Brandon Phipps said. “We believed we could get two but things didn’t go as planned for game two.”

Pitching the entirety of game one, Turner threw 59 strikes and only 22 balls. He struck out eight batters including the final out of the game.

“Cael Turner and our defense did an outstanding job in game one,” Phipps said. “He limited free bases, and we applied pressure while on offense. We were able to plate a few late in the game to get the win.”

The fast-paced defensive game had no additional runs through the fourth inning.

Three sequential outs in the top of the fifth ended the inning with a Harlan runner on third.

Senior Milo Staver kicked off the bottom of the fifth with a double to leftfield.

A fly out and a strikeout put Creston at two outs when senior Dylan Hoepker stepped up and hit an RBI double to put the Panthers on the board with a run by Staver.

Turner was hit by the pitch, landing at first while Hoepker was on second.

Freshman Tom Mikkelsen hit the Panthers’ third double of the evening, sending Hoepker in for the score, taking the 2-1 lead.

Senior Dylan Hoepker races home on a double by freshman Tom Mikkelsen in game one. He scored a run in both games.

In the top of the seventh, the Panthers just needed a clean inning to close out the win.

A pop fly earned the first out. The next out came at second base after a single sent a runner from first to second.

Hoepker was sure he had the third out when Mikkelsen threw in from the plate to second to catch Colton Schneider on a steal. The ump called Schneider safe, but Turner finished the job at the mound with a strike.

Senior centerfielder McCoy Haines catches a deep ball during the first game to end an inning

Game two got away from the Panthers quickly, the Cyclones loading the bases and putting up a score in the first inning.

First baseman Sam Henry made a smart call, throwing into home to stop a run rather than taking the out at first. It got the Panthers out of the inning down only one.

But the defense couldn’t keep the game clean and the Cyclones put up four in the second, one in the third and seven in the fifth.

“Game two was the opposite of game one; we failed to locate in the zone, allowed too many free bases and didn’t play error-free baseball,” Phipps said. “We got a little out of character in game two in which Harlan did a nice job on executing on.”

The Panthers had five hits — Turner with a double and Mattias Schultes, Mikkelsen, McCoy Haines and Staver each with a single.

Hoepker earned the Panthers’ only run.

The Panthers played I-35 Wednesday evening and host Glenwood Thursday.

“Every night is a big one but Hawekeye 10 games we understand we need to be playing our best baseball,” Phipps said.

Cheyenne Roche

CHEYENNE ROCHE

Originally from Wisconsin, Cheyenne has a journalism and political science degree from UW-Eau Claire and a passion for reading and learning. She lives in Creston with her husband and their two little dogs.