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Neighbors Growing Together | May 25, 2018

Pekin upsets Highland in district semifinal

By Andy Krutsinger, Golden Triangle News Service | Jul 14, 2017
Photo by: ANDY KRUTSINGER/GTNS photo Pekin starter Garrett Greiner thew a gem on Thursday night, shutting down top-seeded Highland to earn the victory.

RIVERSIDE — To say the Highland baseball team was stunned after their district semifinal game on Thursday night would be quite the understatement.

The Huskies, who have been nearly uhittable in the last two years, ran into a Pekin team that had everything working for them. The Panthers exploded offensively for the second time this year against Highland and upset the Huskies, 7-2.

“Pekin got us again. There’s not a lot to say,” said head coach Seth Milledge after the loss. “They just seem to be our bugaboo.”

Highland found themselves in a hole early. Pekin’s Torell Washington started things off with an RBI single and Ryan Stansberry sent a homer over the left field fence to make it 3-0 in the top of the first.

Highland did get one run back in the bottom of the first. Bill Burton stepped up to the plate and delievered an RBI single that made it 3-1 after the first inning.

The fourth inning spelled doom for the Huskies and ace Chase Rath, who started the game. Pekin tacked on four runs and gave plenty of breathing room for the Panther defense.

Keaton Baayen scored two on a double to stretch the lead to 5-1, and Washington had another RBI as the Panthers eventually ran it up to a 7-1 advantage.

Highland made it a little more interesting in the bottom of the fifth inning when Caleb Brase scored on a wild pitch. The Huskies were able to threaten for more but could never string enough hits to cut into the five-run lead.

Garrett Greiner had a great outing for Pekin in the win. He threw a complete game seven innings and gave up just two runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks, while striking out five batters.

“We never quit (and) we never got down,” said Milledge. “They just hit the ball where we weren’t. That’s baseball.”

Highland had an incredible season, finishing the year 21-5 even with the loss on Thursday night, but the Huskies will not be making a return trip to the state tournament in 2017.

Pekin moves on to play Burlington Notre Dame back in Riverside on Saturday, July 15, at 7 p.m. The Nikes upset New London in the opening game on Thurdsay.

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