Early runs help Panthers pounce Indians
Special to the Whig
Perryville opted to utilize a patient approach at the plate and take what was given to them by North East pitching Monday afternoon.
That strategy enabled the Panthers to score three runs in each of the first two innings to take control of the game en route to an 8-3 victory over the host Indians in Susquehanna Division baseball action.
“We were trying to put the bat on the ball, trying to get base hits, and not trying to hit home runs. We were trying to be smart, getting base hits with runners in scoring position,” Perryville’s Kody Brown said. “Getting runs early in the game means everything. You jump on them. They get down and
[you] keep capitalizing.”
In the top of the first inning, the Panthers (4-6 overall, 4-4 division) loaded the bases with one out before Chris Wenck stepped to the plate and singled to right, driving in a pair before advancing to second on the throw home. As North East attempted to throw out Wenck at second, Jared Brustman scored to give Perryville a 3-0 advantage.
One inning later, Perryville added three more runs, all of which came with two outs. Brown scored on an RBI single by Silas Stevens to begin the scoring, while Stevens scored after Mike Newsome double to left.
Jake Eldreth then drove in Newsome with a single. Panthers coach Jason Gunning noted that the three-run second inning changed the tenor of the game more so than the opening frame.
“[Scoring in the first inning] meant everything, but I think the second inning was even more important when we put three more up because when you do that early on in the game, it puts the pressure on the home team to per- form. It puts pressure on the offense to put bad swings out there,” Gunning said. “I’ve seen that team hit better in the last game we beat them when they were hitting it right at people. The first two innings were huge.”
The Indians (6-6, 3-5) earned two runs back in the bottom of the third when Chase Hollister scored on a twoout error and Payton Hoskins followed by scoring on an Eric Steele single.
The scored remained 6-2 until the bottom of the sixth inning when North East loaded the bases with no outs,. However, after Colt Price recorded a sacrifice fly to center, Brustman escaped the jam thanks to strong defensive plays from both Stevens and Wenck.
“I just knew I had my defense behind me. I tried to throw strikes,” Brustman said. “My defense played for me. Silas made a nice catch for me to keep the guy at second. It was just the team that got me out.”
Perryville scored a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh to put the game out of reach.
Perryville junior infielder Zach Strong fields a ball during his team’s 8-3 victory over host North East in Susquehanna Division baseball action on Monday.