Bring out the brooms

Panther baseball sweeps region rival Whitewater in three inning mercy rule


Kristen Sherman

The Panther varsity baseball team gathers at home plate after senior Will Evans hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first. The Panthers defeated the Wildcats in a 15-run mercy rule in the bottom of the third, improving their overall record to 8-1.

Morgan Evans, Sports Editor

The Panther varsity baseball team expected a close three game series against region rival Whitewater, but the way the Panthers played Wednesday through Friday was anything but close. Wednesday night, the Panthers started the series at home, only giving up one run to the Wildcats, defeating them 8-1. The only difference Thursday night was the location, but Whitewater’s home field advantage didn’t stop the Panthers from defeating the Wildcats, 5-2, with senior Jack Moore pitching a complete game.

“My arm felt really good,” Moore said. “I had control on all of my pitches and I’m really glad my coaches let me finish the whole game on the mound. We knew they could be a tough team to beat because the top half of their lineup is really strong and it’s harder to win on the road. We just need to keep pitching well and focus on not stranding runners offensively.”

Kristen Sherman
The varsity Panthers lineup on the first base foul line before first pitch against Whitewater. The Panthers swept the three-game series, winning 8-1, 5-2, and 15-0.

The biggest game, however, was Friday night’s home game. The Panthers hoped to sweep the Wildcats, and not only did they achieve that, the region rivals only played a meager three innings.

Senior Will Evans took the mound Friday night and pitched a stellar three innings with only one walk in the first inning and five total strikeouts. The Wildcats barely made it through their lineup in three innings, with only their leadoff guy stepping into the batter’s box twice.

“I’ve been working with the coaches on throwing strikes,” Evans said. “I thought the series went really well. We played hard and our pitchers did a great job.”

Not only did Evans have his night on the mound, his first at bat was a two-run home run, bringing home senior Kyle Evert after his leadoff base on balls. The 2-0 first was just the start of the Panther bats.

In the bottom of the second, junior Charlie Mizzell drew a leadoff walk and scored after the next batter, senior Jake Arnold, doubled. Senior Drew Pepper advanced to third base after bunting an infield single and taking two bases from a Whitewater throwing error. Evert’s second at bat of the game was a sacrifice RBI, scoring Pepper. The next batter, sophomore Brian Port, hit a stand-up double and scored on a wild pitch after a Wildcat pitching change. After two innings, the Wildcats trailed the Panthers 6-0.

Today, not only did we pitch, we lived up to our ability to hit the ball.

— head coach Brent Moseley

In the bottom of the third, Mizzell leadoff yet again, but this time hit a double. Arnold drew a walk and then scored off Pepper’s two RBI double along with Mizzell. Evert hit a sac fly allowing Pepper to advance to third and score off of Port’s RBI single. Evans hit a double and advanced Port to third, allowing him to score on another Whitewater wild pitch. Junior first baseman Hayes Heinecke hit an RBI single in his third at bat, scoring Evans. Whitewater had another call to the bullpen for the second time that inning after the Panthers doubled the score in the third, 12-0.

After the pitching change, senior Tyler Courtney hit a single, followed by junior Cole Gilley’s strikeout. Mizzell was due up, yet again, in the bottom of the third and followed through with a single. Pinch hitting junior Michael Norton hit an RBI single, scoring Heinecke and loading the bases. Pepper stepped into the batter’s box and hit a bases-clearing double, adding three more RBIs to his night and ended the game due to a 15-run mercy rule. The Panthers shut out Whitewater 15-0 in their final game of the series and improved their overall record to 8-1.

“The first two games we pitched, and we played great defense,” head coach Brent Moseley said. “Today, not only did we pitch, we lived up to our ability to hit the ball.”

The Panthers’ next game is at region rival McIntosh on March 14 with first pitch at 5:30 p.m. This will also be the start of another three game series with the Tuesday night and Friday night game at McIntosh, and the Thursday night game at home.

“I’m expecting three close games,” Moseley said. “It’s two good teams and hopefully we’ll come out on top.”