June 16, 2024

Panthers respond, overcome Mustang comeback

McCoy Haines connects in the bottom of the seventh Thursday against Shenandoah with runners on second and third base to bring in the winning run in a 9-8 conference win over the Mustangs.

Thursday the Panthers (10-7, 5-3) hosted Shenandoah (8-6, 3-6), winning 9-8 on a walk-off double by McCoy Haines.

But just two innings earlier, it looked like Creston would be running away with the game.

The Panthers put up four runs in the first inning.

Dylan Hoepker made it home on a wild pitch while Cael Turner was sent in by Tom Mikkelsen; Sam Henry scored from Mattias Shultes and Tanner Ray was hit in by Haines.

The Panthers found another in the second inning with Tyler Riley and two additional in the third -— Ray and Haines.

Hoepker, Henry, Ray and Haines each had two hits on the night while Ray led with three runs.

The Mustangs were down 7-0 when they found their first run in the fourth inning.

Milo Staver prepares to throw the ball in. Staver came in to pitch the final inning.

At the start of the sixth, Creston had maintained the lead 7-1.

Errors hampered the Panthers in the sixth, and the Mustangs capitalized.

Four consecutive Shenandoah batters made it on base on a triple, a single and two walks.

Five of the six runners scored before the Panthers found the first out of the inning.

Pitcher Turner struck out the next two batters. Turner threw 67 strikes in his six innings pitched, striking out 12 batters and allowing seven runs.

The next three runners all made it to first as the Panthers’ fielding floundered. Communication crumbled as easy catches fell to the ground and three runs were scored on wild pitches.

Turner struck out the third batter after the Mustangs tied the game at 7 apiece.

Creston needed to get something going offensively to regain the lead, but all three batters grounded out in the bottom of the sixth.

Meanwhile, the Mustangs got back to business in the top of the seventh, the first two batters earning singles.

Milo Staver pitched the final inning for the Panthers as Turner had reached his pitch count.

Staver struck out the third batter, but the next batter sent home a run to take the 8-7 lead for Shenandoah. The Panthers got out of the inning without any additional damage, but needed to score at least one to stay alive in the bottom of the seventh.

Henry hit a single to kick things off for the Panthers and Gavin Millslagle hit a sacrifice bunt to get Henry to second base. Henry stole third on a wild pitch before Ray was walked. Ray stole second while Haines was at bat.

It was a full count for Haines with runners on second and third when he smoked a hit to left field. As Henry then Ray rounded home plate, they kept running, the entire dugout joining them to celebrate with Haines.

Friday, the Panthers hosted Treynor in a 4-3 loss, Hoepker scoring two runs and Mikkelsen with one run and two RBIs.

Haines pitched three innings, throwing 40 strikes, striking out three batters and allowing four runs.

Quinten Fuller pitched an inning with one strikeout. Ray pitched three innings, striking out four batters and throwing 31 strikes.

The Panthers hosted Kuemper Catholic Monday in a doubleheader, but results were unavailable at press time.

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.