Panthers win first game of sea­son be­hind strong pitch­ing, de­fense

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By JOR­DAN SCHATZ

jschatz@ce­cil­whig.com

— Less than a week af­ter it squan­dered a three-run lead in an even­tual loss, the Per­ryville base­ball team made sure it didn’t suf­fer the same fate twice.

Be­hind a big three-run third in­ning that broke a score­less tie, start­ing pitcher Kody Brown’s com­plete game and stel­lar de­fense, the Panthers out­lasted vis­it­ing North East 6-4 and picked up their first win of the sea­son in Susque­hanna Divi­sion ac­tion on Fri­day.

“I feel awe­some for this team,” Per­ryville coach Ja­son Gun­ning said. “It hap­pened to us against Bo Manor [on Mon­day]. We got out to a three-run lead and we just couldn’t fin­ish. This time, we had con­fi­dence be­cause we had been there with that three-run lead be­fore. We knew not how to lose it this time.

“North East played well all game, they fought back. We didn’t re­lin­quish the lead. We just kept the con­fi­dence, and the de­fense and pitch­ing was out of this world.”

Brown, a se­nior, al­lowed four

PER­RYVILLE

runs—three earned—on five hits and four walks with two strike­outs to earn the com­plete-game vic­tory. He was aided by a strong de­fen­sive ef­fort that pro­duced sparkling plays nearly ev­ery in­ning.

“I gave it my all, throw­ing a lot of off-speed pitches and keep­ing them off-bal­anced, but I wasn’t afraid to throw them fast­balls be­cause I knew my de­fense was be­hind me mak­ing plays. They were there all game,” Brown said. “I tried to keep [the hits] on the ground mostly or re­ally high up in the air so that the [de­fense] has a chance to field it in­stead of [try­ing to catch] line drives. They were just on point today.”

The Panthers (1-3 over­all, 1-1 divi­sion) pro­vided their start­ing pitcher with a three-run lead in the third in­ning on the strength of a five-hit in­ning. Af­ter se­nior Jared Brust­man con­nected for a solo inside-the-park home run to deep right field with one out, fresh­man Mike New­some and ju­nior Zach Strong fol­lowed with RBI sin­gles that drove in Brown and Si­las Stevens, re­spec­tively, who had reached on base hits.

The In­di­ans (4-2, 1-1) later tied the score in the top of the fifth in­ning, but the Panthers re­sponded by cross­ing the plate twice more in the bot­tom of the frame to re­take the lead. Both teams then traded runs in the sixth in­ning, be­fore Brown re­tired all three bat­ters he faced in the sev­enth in­ning to end the game.

“Per­ryville de­served to win this game. They played an in­cred­i­ble base­ball game. I give them all the credit in the world,” North East coach Kevin Brown said. “They play to put the ball in play and put the pres­sure on the de­fense and that’s what we preach. We hit the ball hard today at dif­fer­ent times, they just made some fan­tas­tic plays on those balls.”

New­some ended with two RBIs on two hits and Brown scored twice on three hits, while Jake El­dreth, Charles Cum­mings, Brust­man and Strong all drove in a run for the Panthers.

North East’s Eric Steele pro­duced a two-run dou­ble to drive in Pay­ton Hoskins and Patrick O’Brien in the fifth in­ning, be­fore com­ing around to score later in the frame. In the one-run sixth in­ning, O’Brian con­trib­uted a two-out RBI sin­gle to cen­ter but re­mained stranded when a fly-ball out ended the frame.

“This is huge,” Kody Brown said. “It’s our first win this sea­son, it means ev­ery­thing. To come out here and win a home game, it’s great.”

Fol­low Jor­dan Schatz on Twit­ter: @Jor­dan_Whig

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JOR­DAN SCHATZ

Per­ryville fresh­man Mike New­some, right, is tagged out by North East sopho­more catcher Cameron Blanken­ship dur­ing the fifth in­ning of the Panthers’ 6-4 win over the vis­it­ing In­di­ans in Susque­hanna Divi­sion base­ball ac­tion on Fri­day.

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