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Panthers reach 6-0 midseason

By Staff | Jul 2, 2020

Sue Sitter/PCT Batter Dylan Bartsch hits a pop fly ball against the New Rockford-Sheynne Black Sox in New Rockford.

The Rugby Babe Ruth Panthers topped off the first half of its winning season with a 19-0 no-hitter against the New Rockford-Sheyenne Black Sox Thursday at New Rockford’s Legion Park.

Panther coach Dillon Marco put Erik Foster on the pitcher’s mound for the game. “He’s one of the guys in rotation, but he usually catches for us,” Marco said.

Foster met the challenge by turning in a nearly perfect game, giving the Black Sox only one base on an error.

By the second inning, the Panthers led 6-0, while the Black Sox struggled to put a runner on base.

The Panthers threatened again in the third inning, when a base hit by Dylan Bartsch turned into a triple on Black Sox errors. However, two pop flies to right and center field and a strikeout left Bartsch stranded.

After retiring the first three Black Sox batters in short order, the Panthers went on the offensive again, this time scoring four runs at the top of the fourth inning.

Black Sox coach Braxton Hewitt called a time out to substitute pitcher Connor Knatterud with right fielder Luke Yri.

The fix seemed to work for awhile as Yri pitched a strikeout to end the inning.

However, after Foster struck out the first three Black Sox at bat to end the fourth inning, the Panthers built on its 10-0 lead in the fifth.

Austin Dibble led off the fifth inning offensive with a base hit. From there, Dibble took advantage of wild Black Sox pitches to steal second, then third base.

Logan Harner walked to first base, giving the Black Sox two runners to watch. Another wild pitch brought Dibble home for an 11-0 Panther lead. Harner followed minutes later when another pitch went astray, and the Panthers had 12 runs.

After more walks, another stray pitch hit batter Brody Schneibel, loading the bases for the Panthers. A walk gave the Panthers 13 points on the scoreboard.

Rylan Heidbreder next batted in two with a line drive to center field, followed by Garrett Sullivan, who batted in two more. Sullivan crossed home plate later on a wild pitch.

Dibble stepped to the plate again to repeat what he had done earlier in the inning. A double set him up to take third base, then another wild pitch brought him home for the Panthers’ 19th run.

The sixth inning gave the Black Sox hope and broke Foster’s perfect record.

Black Sox batter D.J. Mudget walked to first base.

The pressure to put some Black Sox runs on the scoreboard mounted as batter Brody Weisenberger swung after pitches, striking out. Knatterud and Kyler Johnson followed, neither one seeing a base hit.

“We’ve been playing pretty good baseball and playing to our potential, so it’s been good,” Marco said after the 19-0 win. “We’re looking forward to the next half of the season.”

“We’ve played everybody once in our season now,” Marco added. “We play Renville County in two weeks. Next week, we’ve got Bottineau and Rolette.”

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