KNOXVILLE — The Davis County Mustangs came calling on the Knoxville Panthers Friday night with an 8-0 South Central Conference record and winning the league title on their mind. The Knoxville Panthers had a 5-3 record and were sitting in third place while EBF was in second place with a 9-1 record. A doubleheader sweep would put the Panthers right back in the hunt while one or two losses would pretty much put them out of the picture.

Knoxville Coach Turner DeVore sent Luke Spaur to the bump for game one and Spaur responded with a gritty, six-hit effort to post a 6-4 victory. Spaur’s mates had to battle from behind to gain the win and Spaur was very stingy over the final four innings.

The Panthers scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first when Spaur drew the first of his three bases on balls, moved up on a base hit by Dakota Ramsey and scored on a poke through the middle by Trenten Kingery.

The Mustangs put a four spot on the board in the top of the third thanks to a pair of Panther errors, a pair of sacrifices and a two run double by Easton White.

Knoxville answered quickly with a three-run bottom of the third to tie the score. Koby Higginbothm hammered a one out double into the gap in left-center and Hayden Hatch walked followed by a hit by pitch taken by Beau Leisure. A single down the right field line by Nico Lacona scored Higginbotham and Hatch and Leisure would later score on an error.

After the third inning, Spaur tightened down the screws on the mound and the Panthers went ahead in the fourth with a run, Ramsey drew a one out walk and he moved up on a base hit by Higginbotham. A hit to left by Leisure sent Higginbotham home with the lead run

The final Knoxville run came in the bottom of the fifth when Lacona was plunked by a pitch, swiped second, moved up on a ground out and he scored on a wild pitch. That would be all the Panthers would need to take game one.

In game two the Panthers sent their big guy to the hill and Leisure responded with a 13-strikeout effort and a 4-3 win.

Knoxville was on the board first when Kade Bellon rapped the first pitch of the inning up the middle for a single. Bellon was sacrificed over by Spaur and he scored on a double by Kingery.

The Knoxville defense came unglued in the top of the third and the Mustangs put three unearned runs on the board. Leisure quickly gained control of the situation and allowed only three base runners the rest of the way.

The Panthers seized the lead with a three spot in the bottom of the third and that would conclude the scoring for the game.

Bellon reached on an error, Spaur lashed a single to right and both runners scored when Ramsey’s ground ball was thrown away and Ramsey motored to third. Ramsey would score on a sacrifice fly by Kingery.

“We needed two wins” Coach DeVore said. “We got some big-time hits and we came back twice on a good team. We got down, but we wouldn’t quit. The sacrifice fly by Kingery in game two was huge and it almost went out. I’m just really proud of the way the guys played tonight.

The Panthers have a big week ahead and it starts with another key SCC contest at home on Tuesday with EBF followed with Centerville at home on Thursday and a non-conference tussle at Winterset on Friday.

Game One:

Davis County 004 000 0 — 4 6 1

Knoxville 103 110 x — 6 7 2

Knoxville Battery: Luke Spaur (WP), 7 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 ER0 BB, 3 K and Hayden Hatch

Knoxville hitting – Dakota Ramsey 1-for-3, Trenten Kingery 1-for-4, Koby Higginbotham 2-for-4, Beau Leisure 2-for-3, Nico Lacona 1-for-1

Knoxville runs – Spaur 1, Ramsey 1, Higginbotham 1, Hatch 1, Leisure 1, Lacona 1

Knoxville RBI – Kingery 1, Leisure 1, Lacona 2

2B – Higginbotham

Game two:

Davis County 003 000 0 — 3 5 2

Knoxville 103 000 x — 4 7 3

Knoxville Battery: Beau Leisure (W), 7 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 K and Hayden Hatch

Knoxville hitting – Bellon 2-for-4, Spaur 1-for-1, Kingery 1-for-2, Hatch 2-for-3, Leisure 1-for-2.

Knoxville runs – Bellon 2, Spaur 1, Ramsey 1.

Knoxville RBI – Kingery 2.

2B – Kingery 1, Leisure 1.

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