Renville County double header brings ‘W’
The Panthers headed west of Bottineau Tuesday to face the Renville County Mallards in Lansford and brought the energy from Monday’s win to Lansford.
The non-region double header saw a 13-0 Panther lead by the middle of the first inning after a long series of Rugby base hits and Mallard fielding errors. Panther Erik Foster began the first game as pitcher, beginning with a strikeout. Other pitches went astray, and the Mallards soon loaded the bases to begin a scoring drive of their own.
A Mallard RBI and two Panther errors cut Rugby’s lead to 13-3 as the first inning ended.
The Panthers added to their run total when Jacob Ripplinger hit a fly ball to deep center field. Ripplinger advanced to third on two Mallard errors before coming home on a Foster RBI.
By the second inning’s end, the Panthers held a 16-3 lead.
The Mallards managed three more points when they took to the plate, with a base hit from Renville County’s Kellan Henry and a triple from Will Artz bringing in two more runs. A Cordell Sjokvist base hit set the stage for another Mallard run, and the inning ended with a 16-6 Panther lead.
Clouds covered the sun and players reached for their water bottles in the muggy air as the third inning began. “Bring more energy!” Mallard coach Garret Wible shouted as his team took the field.
The Panthers’ run total continued to climb.
Brody Schneibel batted in two runners, and Dylan Bartsch batted in Schneibel by the middle of the third.
The Mallards faced an energized Rugby defense as they took their turn at bat, unable to boost their 19-6 deficit.
Officials ended the first game before the fourth inning began due to the score margin.
The second game began with a much smaller Panther lead in the first inning when Logan Harner crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
With Harner pitching, the Panthers held the Mallards to zero runs.
RBIs from Austin Dibble and Harner boosted the Panther 1-0 lead in the second inning. Ripplinger walked, setting the stage for two more Panther RBIs.
The Mallards scored two runs on errors in the third inning, cutting the Panther lead to four points.
The Panthers capitalized on a walk and errors in the fourth inning, boosting their lead to 7-2. The lead held as the game ended, and the Panthers had another game in the W column.
“We kind of got ahead right away in that first game and we were kind of content with ourselves,” Panther coach Dillon Marco said after the games wrapped up.
Of the second game in the double header, he noted, “We didn’t keep the pressure on and get more aggressive and didn’t have very much energy in the dugout after that first inning.”
“I think it was more that we thought we were going to win right away,” Marco added.
Marco said he didn’t believe the afternoon’s oppressive humidity had much of an effect on the Panthers.
“We stay hydrated,” he said. “We always bring a cooler full of water every game.”
Marco said the Panthers were off to a good start for their short season.
“We have a region tournament,” he noted. “That happens in the middle of July. That’s between Bottineau, Cando, Harvey and New Rockford. Hopefully, we’ll be the number one seed. That’s what we’re shooting for – then, we’ll host the region tournament.”
The Panthers would travel to Harvey for a region game Thursday. Results will appear in next week’s Tribune.
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