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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 22, 2017

Panthers capture conference title over Trojans

By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News | Jul 05, 2017
Photo by: ANDY HALLMAN/Ledger photo Brandon Smithburg runs to first after making contact against Mt. Pleasant Monday.

The Mt. Pleasant baseball team climbed a big hill on Monday night, taking two games from Fairfield to end the Trojans’ streak of four-straight SEC titles.

The Panthers outlasted the Trojans, 3-1, in a nine-inning game one and held off a late Fairfield rush to take game two, 7-4.

Game one was a pitcher’s dual that saw zero runs cross the plate in the scheduled seven innings. Fairfield’s Cam Baumann and Mt. Pleasant’s Zach Beason went toe-to-toe, shutting down the opposing offense and forcing extra innings with a 0-0 tie.

The pitch count limit got the best of Baumann after the sixth inning and Graham Kuehl came in to relieve him in the seventh. The Panthers scored their first run off Kuhle in the eighth inning on an RBI single by Jordan Magnani.

Mt. Pleasant looked like they were going to close it out in the eighth, but Kosta Papazaglou had other plans. He reached on a two-out walk, advanced to third on an Austin Simpson single and tied the game at 1-1 on a passed ball.

The Panthers bounced right back in the ninth inning. After loading the bases with two outs, Caleb Potts stepped to the plate and delievered a two-RBI single that stretched the lead to 3-1, where it would stay.

Potts finished the day 1-2 with two RBIs to lead Mt. Pleasant. Magnani finished 1-4 with an RBI, and Pat Canby went 2-5 with a double and two runs scored.

Beason picked up the win, going eight and two-thirds innings and giving up just one unearned run on five hits and four walks, while striking out five batters.

Cooper Drish went 2-4 on the day to lead the Trojans. Simpson, Hunter Hostkins and Hunter Drish each had one hit.

Baumann went six shutout innings, giving up three hits and three walks, while striking out eight batters. Kuehl was tagged with the loss, going three innings and giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits and one walk, while striking out one.

Mt. Pleasant parlayed the game-one momentum into a big start in game two. The Panthers scored one run in the first inning and five in the second to take an early 6-0 lead.

Fairfield came back with two in the first and one in the fifth. The Panthers got one back in the sixth and the Trojans added one of their own in the seventh.

With two on and two out in the seventh, Baumann sent a long fly ball to right field that could have tied it. Rylan Seberg made the catch on the warning track and the Panthers clinched the conference championship.

Canby went 2-4 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored to lead the Panthers. Cooper Huckabone went 2-4 with an RBI. Chase Lamm was 1-3 with an RBI and a run scored.

Jordan Magnani went seven innings and gave up four runs (two earned) on 10 hits and one walk, while striking out five.

Simpson went 2-4 with two RBIs to lead the Trojans. Tristan Waugh was 2-3 with an RBI and Baumann was 1-4 with an RBI and a run.

Cade Lisk picked up the loss for Fairfield, going five and two-thirds innings and giving up six runs (four earned) on six hits and two walks, while striking out nine.

After the game, Panther head coach Brent Broeker praised his team’s performance and said it was nice payback for seniors like Canby and Zac Ebeling, who have never tasted the SEC title.

“We came in here four years ago and all we had to do was split,” Broeker said. “In game one, we were up four going into the seventh and they beat us. Then, they beat us again so we lost tht conference championship. I said, ‘You guys don’t realize how good it feels to finally get revenge on that.’”

Fairfield coach Josh Allison said his team played well, despite dropping both games.

“Mt. Pleasant made some unbelievable plays in the field,” he said. “They turned a few double plays on us, and their outfielders made a few diving catches. Some nights you get a team that plays great defense, and unfortunately it was the night that decided the conference championship.”

The Panthers finished 14-2 in the conference to take first place. Fairfield finished second at 13-3. Washington went 7-9. Keokuk was 6-10 and Ft. Madison went 0-16.

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