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Panthers rally for first win

By Staff | May 2, 2014

Tim Chapman/PCT Junior Eli Luna (Towner) makes contact on a foul ball for the Rugby Panthers in a game earlier this season against Northern Lights at Curtis Rime field in Rolette. Luna was 3 for 4 with an RBI in the team’s first win of the season, a 7-6 victory over Carrington on April 26 in New Rockford.

Jaedon Haman’s walk-off single capped a five-run fifth inning as the Rugby High School baseball team earned its first win of the season on April 26 in New Rockford.

The senior’s infield single ended a six-game losing streak and drove in sophomore Ryan Michels. The Panthers beat Carrington 7-6 in the non-district game.

“I just got to the plate with bases loaded and was little nervous,” Haman said. “I was hesitant on the first pitch, but with the second I thought I had to do something with this at-bat.”

The ball bounced toward third base and the Cardinals tried to get the game’s final out by throwing to first. Haman beat the throw and Michels was safe at home.

“It feels pretty good to get a win, especially after going 0-6, and to get out of the slump. Hopefully, we can get some more wins.”

The Cardinals led 6-2 following a four-run performance in the top of the fifth. The Panthers put together an impressive answer in their best inning of hitting of the season. Junior Evan Burckard, who earned the win in relief, opened the final frame with a walk. Classmate Eric Hooker followed with a single and sophomore Hunter Hager’s groundout drove in Burckhard.

Junior Bennie Mygland, sophomore Blaine Rosencrans and Michels followed with consecutive singles and the deficit was 6-5. RHS freshman Anders Johnson (2 RBIs) hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game and plate Rosencrans.

The Cardinals walked Luna at the top of the order and Haman followed with the walk-off.

“We hadn’t scored five runs in a game,” RHS coach Kendall Schieve said. “We’re starting to make plays we should’ve and guys are having a lot of confidence.”

Luna led six Panthers with RBIs as he finished 3 for 4 with three singles and the intentional walk.

“I’ve been working out the kinks in my swing, but still have to some more and get hand speed quicker,” Luna said, “but I’ve been seeing the ball pretty good.”

Earlier in the day, the Panthers dropped a 4-2 decision against non-district opponent Dakota Prairie. Mygland started on the mound and gave up four runs in the first inning, but limited DP to just 10 at-bats over the following three innings. RHS turned a double play on a lineout to second and put-out at first in the third inning.

“The defense picked it up and kind of got me out of the tight innings,” Mygland said. “These next couple of weeks we have to keep improving ourselves and getting better before the regional tournament.”?The Panthers played a varsity doubleheader against District 5 rival North Star on Thursday. The April 28 game at Bottineau was rescheduled for May 10 at 3:30 p.m. RHS is scheduled to play at Harvey-Wells County on Monday.

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