Panther Babe Ruth starts season with a win
The Rugby Panther Babe Ruth baseball program opened their season Tuesday with a home field win against Rolette County’s Comets.
“That’s a great way to start a season,” said Panther Babe Ruth Coach Dillon Marco.
The Panther scoring drive began in the first inning, when second base player Logan Harner and pitcher Jacob Ripplinger moved to first and third base on Comet errors.
After a catching error brought Harner home and moved Ripplinger to third, shortstop Brody Schneibel walked to first, setting the scene for more Panther runs. A Macen Heisler double brought Ripplinger and Brody Schneibel home, and the inning ended with a 4-0 Panther lead.
The Comets came back in the third inning when right fielder Dalton Honsey led off with a base hit, and a walk set up a scoring opportunity for third base player Justin Hudson. A Nicholas Mears fly to left field cost the Panthers an error and brought Hudson home.
With a 4-1 lead at the bottom of the third inning, the Panthers added to their total with two runs batted in.
The Comets answered at the top of the fourth inning with a Nate Tastad double. The Comets’ first base player advanced to third on center fielder Blake Mattson’s sacrifice bunt. However, two more strikeouts left Tastad stranded.
The Panthers saw another run but left three of their own stranded when two singles by Brody Schneibel and Heisler, and a walk by Austin Schneibel loaded the bases after two outs.
Facing a 7-1 Rugby lead at the top of the fifth inning, the Comets took advantage of Panther errors after their first batter, Hudson, walked. After Hudson stole second base, a Mitchell Leas chopper caused a Panther fielding error, turning a single into a double. Another walk loaded the bases, and a walk after that brought Hudson home. After another Comet score on walks, Panther pitcher Ripplinger changed positions with Brody Schneibel.
The new Panther pitcher seemed to find his footing when he struck out batter Tastad, but the next batter, Mattson, walked for another Comet score.
After another conference at the pitcher’s mound, the Panther defense took shape and the Comets took the field.
The Panthers’ turn at the plate saw a run batted in by Ripplinger, who brought Dylan Bartsch home.
A re-energized Panther defense took to the field for the sixth inning, and held the lead until the end of the game.
“They’re looking really good,” Marco said of the team. “I think they did pretty good offensively. Pitching, we need to throw more strikes and less walks, but other than that, we played a pretty clean baseball game.”
The Panthers face a busy schedule in the coming week.
“We play Bottineau at Bottineau Tuesday at 5:30, Wednesday, we play at Renville County, which is in Lansford, at 4 p.m.; Thursday, we play Harvey in Harvey at 1 p.m.,” Marco said.
“We know Bottineau will be pretty decent. They’ve only lost three or four kids from last year. Harvey, we’re not really sure on. Lansford, we usually don’t play, so we’ll see,” Marco added.
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