BASEBALL: Panthers’ season ends at state
The Rugby baseball squad finished up a great second half of the season with a sixth-place finish at the 2016 Class B Baseball Tournament.
The Panthers opened up play last Thursday versus Thompson in quarterfinal round at Newman Outdoor Field in Fargo. The Tommies provided to be a tough match up for the Rugby squad, as Thompson won via a 9-1 score. Rugby was unable to hold the Tommie offense at bay, especially with two outs, “..they scored all of their runs with two outs,” mentioned Co-Head Coach Greg Foster, “we were two groundballs and being sharper on the mound from making it a competitive game.”
Dillon Marco took the loss while Johnny Mueller pitched in relief, and offensively Shayden Luna was 2/3 with two singles. With the loss, Rugby was then playing in the consolation bracket and facing off against Central McLean.
The second game of the tournament provided to be the best for Rugby, as they sent at least nine batters to the plate in each of the first two innings while collecting eight runs in the process. The early game surge sent the Panthers to an 11-1 victory against the Cougars of Central McLean. The contest was delayed due to rain for about 2 hours, causing all of the consolation games for the rest of the tournament to be five innings. That did not seem to discourage the Rugby side, as they came out hot. Isaiah Johnson was 4/4 with three RBI’s, Blane Rosencrans hit 2/4 with two runs scored a run driven in and Evan Burckhard was 2/3 with a walk and three runs scored. Burckhard pitched all five innings for the Panthers and limited the Central McLean offense. Coach Foster sums up the game, “we came out and saw the ball well, pounded out hits early and often.” Now sitting at 1-1 for the State Baseball Tournament, Rugby would take on Northern Cass for the consolation championship.
It was an even matchup on paper and the game played out like it as well. The Jaguars of Northern Cass took advantage of an early walk and error to seize a 2-0 lead after two innings. Rugby would gain a run back in the top of the fourth as Hunter Hager walked with one out and eventually came around to score with two outs. Unfortunately that was the only offense the Panthers could manufacture in the contest and Northern Cass held on for a 2-1 victory. Rugby collected 5 hits offensively, Anders Johnson pitched the first three innings and Marco pitched the final inning.
The baseball team ended the season with a sixth place finish at state, Region Five Champions and a record of 12-13 overall. They also had three players earn All-Region honors: Anders Johnson, Rosencrans and Burckhard.
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