For the second straight game, the EP Panther boys came from behind to knock off a higher seeded team and move on the the Regional Championship. Wednesday afternoon’s victim was 2nd seeded Spring Valley Hall by the score of 7-5 in Princeton.
Princeton jumped on the Panthers in their first inning with four solid hits and scored 3 runs, the same deficit EP faced Monday before coming from behind. EP came right back in the top of the second with a huge 6 run inning to gather some big momentum of their own. Noah Wiseley and Conner Meadows both singled to start the inning. Mikey Biba laid down a nice sacrifice bunt and loaded the bases on an errant throw to first. Bryce Jepson then was hit in the helmet by a pitch forcing in the first run. Mason Misfeldt then coaxed a walk to score the second run. Connor Sibley’s line drive single tied the game at 3. Kolby Franks then flied to deep center giving the Panthers the lead. The Panthers benefitted on 2 errors on hard hit ground balls by Reece Duncan and Wiseley to cap the 6 run inning.
The Red Devils came back with one of their own in the second to make it 6-4. Both teams were held scoreless in the third and fourth innings. In the fifth, Hall benefitted from 2 Panther errors to close the gap to 6-5.
The Panthers went to the seventh looking for some insurance and got just that. Sibley’s hard ground ball was booted by the shortstop to lead off the inning. Franks singled to put runners on first and second. Hall tried a pickoff at second and Sibley raced to third safely. After an out and then walk to Duncan loaded the bases, Wiseley blooped a single behind second driving in the 7th run. Two strikeouts closed the Panther at bat.
Hall started the bottom of the 7th with a double. After a strikeout, 2 walks loaded the bases. The Red Devil batter then lined a ball that shortstop Misfeldt caught and stepped on second to double up the runner and give the Panthers the thrilling victory.
Head coach Brad Tichler was ecstatic after the game. “I am so proud of our guys bouncing back again from an early deficit. We lost decisively to this good Hall team early in the season and with today’s slow start we could have packed it in, but we retaliated like we did Monday and shocked the conference champion Hall squad”.
Conner Meadows earned the victory as the starting pitcher working 2 innings, allowing 6 hits and 4 earned runs while striking out 1. Franks was stellar in his 5 innings of work allowing only 2 hits, no earned runs and striking out 4.
Wiseley led the 7 hit Panther attack with 2 singles.
The Panthers will battle the winner of Thursday’s contest between Riverdale and Bureau Valley for the Regional Championship Saturday at 1PM in Princeton.