Written by Joseph Hubbs. Media by Steven Potter.
On Saturday, Greenville finished up a three game sweep of Principia and took control of the third spot in the conference tournament. In the first game of the Panthers-Panthers matchup on Friday, Greenville showed how they can fight back from behind by eliminating a 7-1 deficit and erupting on offense for a 10-7 win. After the fourth inning, Greenville surrendered seven runs with only a solo homerun by Mitchell Cernek keeping them on the board. However, Greenville finally figured out Principia’s senior starting pitcher, Scott Ross, in the 6th inning, plating seven runs on six hits, to put them up by one run. In the last couple of innings the Panthers added two insurance runs with a solo shot by sophomore, Tim Osborne, and an RBI single in the ninth by senior, Jared Souhrada. Panthers’ closer, Nick Bifano, who has been brilliant all season with a team low 1.50 ERA, would not need all three runs as he would get the save, striking out two hitters.
When the Panthers returned home to finish the series, they fought back again for a one run victory in the first game, and completely blew Principia out in the second game to end it in eight innings. Senior, Tyler Mitchell, who started the first game for Greenville, struggled with his control in the first inning, allowing three runs. Mitchell settled down and kept Grenville in the game, pitching five innings and fanning five hitters. Again, the big inning proved to be a factor for Greenville, and in the bottom of the fifth, bringing in five runs for a one run lead. Cernek started the scoring with a sacrifice fly to bring in junior, Dalton McFarland who led the inning off being hit by a pitch. Osborne, the Panthers’ leader in homeruns and RBI’s, then smacked a double to the wall to drive in two more runs. Catcher, Trevor Montgomery also brought in a run on a fielder’s choice, and McFarland helped bring in another run when he was hit by a pitch for the second time in the inning. Principia immediately tied the game in the next half inning, but Greenville reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the 6th inning with a leadoff solo shot by second baseman, Dylan Bone. Greenville added one more run in the 6th, and although Principia squeaked a run by Bifano in the final inning, they kept the one run lead to win the game 7-6.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Greenville scored first and never looked back, ending the game with the mercy rule in the 8th. Greenville was patient at the plate to start the game. In the second inning senior Hunter Bryan led the inning off with a walk, and Bone followed suit right after him. With the bases loaded, senior Campbell Albert had a terrific at bat to walk in a run. Third baseman, Dathan Berning then brought all of his teammates in with a three-run double. Greenville continued to show off their eyes at the plate. Walking a total of 12 times in the ball game, and taking advantage of lackluster Principia defense, the Panthers piled up runs until reaching a 10 run lead over Principa, finishing the game 14-4. Seniors, Derek Reckmann and Michael Wittmer also pitched very well in the ball game. Reckmann started and struck out six hitters in six innings, and Wittmer finished the last two innings, only allowing one hit while striking out two batters. With the sweep, the Panthers finished third in the conference with a 17-8 record, and advance to the SLIAC Tournament. The Panthers, who led the conference in homeruns and total bases, will begin the tournament in Highland on Thursday against Spalding.