Mt. Pleasant's pitchers stymie Washington again
MT. PLEASANT — Mt. Pleasant’s pitchers shut down Washington and the Panther hitters put up plenty of run support in a Southeast Conference sweep of the Demons on Thursday. The Panthers won by scores of 12-2 and 13-5.
"I thought our pitching once again was outstanding," Mt. Pleasant head coach Brent Broeker said. "[Dustin] Amos threw another gem — I think he gave up less hits than last time. [Connor] Shull got in a bit of trouble, but still threw well — well enough to win."
Last time the Panthers took on Washington, Amos gave up eight hits over seven innings, but this time, he limited the Demons to just one hit in the six-inning opener. He walked three batters and struck out five.
Shull held the Demons scoreless through four innings in game two. Washington made up a little ground with a four-run fifth inning to come within one, but Shull and the Panther defense stopped them before they could claim a lead.
Washington had some trouble in the field on the night, committing five errors over the two games, including four in the second game.
The Demons out-hit the Panthers in game two, 12-10, but Washington’s walks and errors helped Mt. Pleasant to a big win.
“We struggled with pitching and defense,” Washington head coach Nathan Miller said. “We couldn’t throw strikes or field the ball. We didn’t compete.”
Washington also struggled at the plate against Amos; their only hit was by junior Mason Quigley. Mt. Pleasant’s hitters, on the other hand, were prepared to take advantage of every opportunity.
"We were ready for them," Broeker said. "We took [batting practice] from left side today, and that got us ready.”
Left-handed Elijah Wood started on the mound for Washington in the opening game, and the Panthers were indeed ready.
"We got six runs up in the first inning, and that set the tone for us right there," Broeker said.
Junior Colton Schinstock was 3-for-3 in the game and had four RBIs — he knocked in the first run of the contest and had a sixth-inning single that scored two runs and ended the game early.
Senior Alex O’Donnell, senior Jacob Dilks and junior Tyler Pace each had a pair of hits in the opener.
“[Batting practice] today got me going, and we really hit well as a team,” Pace said. “We really played well as a team, and it’s a big rivalry, so it feels good.”
The Panthers (12-9, 8-2 SEC) weren’t finished after the opener.
"We actually hit better in the second game, which wasn’t that surprising, because Wood is a pretty good pitcher,” Broeker said.
The Panthers were led by junior Carson Remick and Amos in game two; each went 3-for-4. Amos hit a double, and so did Pace, who was 2-for-3. Amos and Pace each knocked in two runs, and Remick scored four times.
The Panthers took a lead early with a run in the second, but did most of their damage in the late innings in order to hold off the surging Demons.
Mt. Pleasant was up 5-0 after the fourth inning, but Washington (9-10, 2-8 SEC) made it 5-4 in the fifth.
“We threw strikes and competed at the plate [to make a comeback],” Miller said. “But our pitching and defense was lacking in the last two innings.”
Mt. Pleasant stretched its lead back to three with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth frame. In the sixth inning Washington scored its final run. The Panthers had all they needed to win, but they managed to tack on six insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Austin Smith led off with a single, and then Washington’s stray pitches and fielding mishaps played a big role. Schinstock was hit by a pitch, Justin Dilks and Jacob Dilks each walked and then Carson Remick reached on an error.
When the dust settled, the Panthers had taken a 13-5 lead, giving closing pitcher Jacob Dilks a big cushion to work with.
"A two run lead compared to an eight-run lead, that's a big difference,” Broeker said.
Dilks allowed two runners — Ezra Graber walked and Austin Witt singled — but no runs scored in the final frame as Mt. Pleasant sealed the sweep.
In the nightcap, the Demons were led by No. 8 batter Austin Witt, who went 3-for-4. The top of the order also produced some offense, as the first four batters — Tanner Knupp, Jacob Green, Walker Breard and Elijah Wood — each finished with a pair of hits.