Pekin plays ‘two totally different games’
Iowa Mennonite School jumped on the Pekin Panthers early in the first game of Thursday’s softball doubleheader in Packwood.
IMS won game 1 by a score of 8-3. The Panthers played much better in game 2, clobbering IMS 13-0 in three innings.
IMS 8, PEKIN 3
IMS scored two runs in the first, five in the fourth and one in the seventh. The team scored those eight runs on just four hits. IMS got some help from Pekin’s poor defense in game 1 when the Panthers committed five errors.
Pekin scored one run in the first, one in the fifth and one in the sixth.
Leslie Stone started for the Panthers and took the loss to move her record to 3-4. She pitched to four batters in the first and got one out. Panther head coach Bryan Marlay took her out of the game so she had more time to warm up in the bullpen.
Marlay replaced Stone with Cheyann Lankford, who pitched a total of 5.1 innings while allowing three runs, one earned, on three hits and no walks with three strikeouts.
Stone re-entered the game in the third inning but had trouble finding the strike zone. Stone pitched 0.2 innings and surrendered four runs, three earned, on one hit and five walks.
Brittany Gillam tripled and scored one of the Panthers’ three runs. Madelyn Baker doubled and scored a run. Peyton Atwood had an RBI single. Lankford also recorded a hit.
Marlay said his girls did not do themselves any favors on defense.
“The five errors were part of the problem,” he said. “We gave up unearned runs in the fourth inning, and when you give up unearned runs, you’re not going to win many ballgames.”
PEKIN 13, IMS 0
Marlay said the biggest difference between games 1 and 2 was the pitchers IMS sent to the rubber.
IMS experimented with throwing young pitchers in game 2, and the Panthers pounced on the opportunity. Pekin scored four in the first, three in the second and six in the third. The Panthers had eight hits all told.
Lankford was spotless inside the pitching circle as she improved to 10-2 on the year. She did not allow a hit or a walk in three innings. The only baserunner for IMS reached via an error.
Stone raked in three RBIs as she went 2-2. Lankford was also 2-2 and had one RBI and one run. Kelsie Spillman was 2-3 with three RBIs. Gillam went 1-1 and scored three times. Tiana Slaney got a hit and drove in a run.
Cassidy Tolle scored twice. Courtney Comstock scored once, as did Emily Bemis, Maranda Baker, Madelyn Baker, Emily Adam and Sloan Reighard.
“Those were two totally different games,” Marlay said. “We were slow coming out for the first game. We gave up runs early and then we made some mistakes. In the second game, IMS was experimenting with young pitching and we took advantage.”
The Panthers are 11-4 in the conference and 14-8 overall. Marlay said the season has been like a “yo-yo” and that his team is still trying to develop consistency on offense, defense and on the mound.
Area residents who haven’t seen Pekin play yet this year will have several opportunities to do so Saturday at the Pekin Invitational Tournament.
Pekin and Van Buren will square off in the first game of the day at 9 a.m. Pekin won’t play again until the fifth game of the day when it takes on West Branch at approximately 4 p.m. Pekin will finish the day against Harmony for the sixth and final game.
Harmony plays West Branch in game 2. Van Buren plays Harmony in game 3 and then West Branch in game 4.