KNOXVILLE — Two different breed of cats tangled on the Knoxville diamond Thursday night with the black and gold Panthers taking a thrilling 7-6 win in game one and the maroon and gold Panthers from Mt. Pleasant turning the tables for a 12-2 win in the night cap.
Knoxville used a solid pitching performance by Beau Leisure to build 7-1 lead after five innings, but then pitch count numbers forced them to go to the pen. Over the final two innings it was white knuckle time as Luke Spaur and Mike Hudson held off a late charge by Mt. Pleasant.
Hudson entered the game with one out in the seventh and the tying run on first. He then gave up a long fly to deep in the right-center field gap that Hayden Hatch ran down for the second out. After a base hit and a walk filled the sacks, Spaur fielded a bullet at second base for the final out.
Knoxville got on the board first in the bottom of the second as Bode Cox clubbed a shot off the base of the left field fence for a double. Courtesy runner, Evan Eck, swiped third and came home on a sacrifice fly by Hatch.
The black and gold Panthers put identical crooked numbers on the board in the bottom of the third and fourth innings. Colton Jones opened the third with a sharp single and stole second. Spaur walked and Hudson ripped a single up the middle to score Jones. Both Spaur and Hudson moved up on a balk and the both scored on when Ben Olson lashed a single down the third base line.
Knoxville put another three on the board in the fourth when Jones legged out an infield single with two out and Spaur hit a sizzling single over third base. Hudson sent both runners home with a long double to the gap in left-center. Hudson scored when Olson bashed a ground rule double to right field.
That would be all of the Knoxville scoring and now it was time for the pitchers to do their thing.
“We hit the ball very well in game one,” Panther coach Turner DeVore said. “That was a carryover from the last two games and that is great to see. Beau pitched well and our guys held on. With the pitching rules as they are, we sometimes just have to get what we can.”
Hudson and Olson each had a double and a single and three RBI to lead the team. Spaur and Jones each contributed a pair of singles.
Game two was a perfect example of “Murphy’s Law” at its finest. Anything that could go wrong, did go wrong. The bats were quiet, the defense was taking a siesta and the pitching struggled to find the zone.
“It just appeared that we were not ready to play in this game,” DeVore said. “When you give a team seven outs in an inning, you could be playing a little league girls softball team and not win.”
Hudson started game two and didn’t pitch badly. He gave up an unearned run in the first inning and then things really went sour. Mt. Pleasant scored five runs in the second inning without a hit. The first three batters reached by way of an error and then came a hit batsman, two walks and a sacrifice fly.
In the third inning, Mt. Pleasant scored three runs on four hits and added another run in the fourth on three hits. Seth Walraven came on and pitched the fifth inning and gave up a pair of runs.
Knoxville’s two runs came in the second inning when they put together two out singles by Hatch, Jaxon Zuck and Jones for a run and Zuck scored on a wild pitch.
Knoxville is now 8-8 and they host Indianola Friday night and Centerville next Tuesday in single games.
Game One Summary
Mt Pleasant 0 0 1 0 0 5 0 — 6 8 1
Knoxville 0 1 3 3 0 0 X — 7 9 1
Knoxville Battery – Beau Leisure (WP) 5 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, Luke Spaur 1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, Mike Hudson .2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K and Bode Cox
Knoxville Hitting – Colton Jones 2-for-4, Spaur 2-for-3, Hudson 2-for-2, Ben Olson 2-for-4, Cox 1-for-4
2B – Hudson 1, Olson 1, Cox 1
Knoxville Runs – Jones 2, Spaur 2, Hudson 2, Evan Eck 1
Knoxville RBI – Hudson 3, Olson 3, Hatch 1
Game Two Summary
Mt. Pleasant 1 5 3 1 2 — 12 9 0
Knoxville 0 2 0 0 0 — 2 5 6
Knoxville Battery – Mike Hudson (LP) 4 IP, 9 H, 10 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 HB, Seth Walraven 1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K and Bode Cox
Knoxville Hitting – Colton Jones 2-for-3, Carter Bailey 1-for-2, Hayden Hatch 1-for-2, Jaxon Zuck 1-for-2
Knoxville Runs – Hatch 1, Zuck 1
Knoxville RBI – Jones 1