Undefeated Panthers battle Bottineau to end season
The undefeated Rugby Babe Ruth Panthers ended its regular season with a 10-9 pitching battle against Bottineau’s Diamond Slugs Thursday, July 16 at home.
Panther Coach Dillon Marco said pitching “definitely made the difference. Brody Schneibel pitched very well for us toward the end of the game. He’s always been a lock down pitcher for us.”
Marco praised starter Erik Foster’s pitching as well.
Foster faced a Bottineau team anxious for the second berth in the Turtle Mountain League playoffs.
The Diamond Slugs pulled ahead at the top of the first inning, when Carson Haerer and Jake Hennings put two runs on the scoreboard with a steal and run batted in.
Trailing 2-0, the Panthers got to work.
Second base player Logan Harner led the way with a grounder that turned into a double on Diamond Slug errors. Next, short stop Jacob Ripplinger walked to first base. Foster followed, batting Harner in with an out at first. Brody Schneibel smacked a high fly ball to Eli Bristol’s glove in left field, bringing Ripplinger home for the 2-2 tie.
Bottineau spent the top of the second inning trying to move ahead, only to be put down easily by Foster and the Panther infield.
Third base player Tatum Risovi batted first for the Panthers in the second inning, taking first base with a walk. Catcher Austin Schneibel moved Risovi to second with a sacrifice bunt. Next, left fielder Austin Dibble moved Risovi to third base with an infield pop fly missed by the Diamond Slugs, landing Dibble safely at first.
Dibble stole second base when Harner came to the plate. Harner batted Risovi and Dibble in, aided by Diamond Slug infield errors. The second inning ended with a 4-2 Panther lead.
The third inning saw Bottineau continue to struggle, The Diamond Slugs left two runners stranded as Foster and the Panther defense held strong.
Brody Schneibel started the Panther offense with a base hit. Three Panther batters walked next, and Schneibel crossed home plate for a 5-2 Panther lead. Diamond Slug Coach Mark La Croix conferred with Bottineau pitcher Jake Hennings, but pinch hitter Garrett Sullivan batted in two more Panther runs.
The inning ended with the Panthers ahead 7-2.
The top of the fourth inning saw the game turn in Bottineau’s favor.
Catcher Colton Getzlaff took first base on a walk. Trason Pollman walked next, hit by a pitch. A bunt by Brooks Siemens loaded the bases for the Diamond Slugs. Ryder Pollman batted a single next, but Panther Austin Schneibel tagged him out at home. The next Bottineau batter walked, bringing in Trason Pollman for a 7-3 score.
Haere walked next, bringing in another runner for a narrower 7-4 Panther lead.
After a pitcher’s mound conference between Marco and Foster, Bottineau batter James Gorder doubled, bringing in three runners. The Diamond Slugs had tied the game, 7-7.
The Panthers went to bat hoping to pull ahead again.
The Diamond Slugs sent Gorder to the pitcher’s mound, hoping to hold the Panthers back.
Brody Schneibel landed a base hit with a short infield hopper and then stole second base. Batter Macen Heisler went to first base next on a wild pitch. Both each took another base when Dylan Bartsch stepped up to bat.
After an errant pitch hit Bartsch, Dane Heidbreder walked to first, and Brody Schneibel walked across home plate to put the Panthers in the lead again, 8-7.
Two more Panthers walked across home plate, and Rugby’s lead stretched to 10-7.
Brody Schneibel took over pitching duties in the fifth inning. A strike out and infield plays put the first three Diamond Slug batters down quickly.
The Diamond Slugs put the Panthers down just as quickly, and the sixth inning began with a 10-7 Rugby lead.
Bottineau saw Ryder Pollman double on Rugby errors to start things off. Pollman took third base on a wild pitch, then home plate on another. The Panthers held a narrow 10-8 lead as the inning ended.
With two outs, Bottineau’s offense sprang back one last time with a Trason Pollman base hit, followed by second and third base steals. One more Panther pitch went astray and Tason Pollman took home plate. The Panther infield pounced on a short grounder hit by Ryder Pollman next, denying Bottineau another base hit and finishing the game.
Diamond Slugs Coach Mark LaCroix said he was happy with the way his team stuck with the Panthers, “It definitely was back and forth there,” LaCroix said. (Marco) had two very good pitchers with Foster and Schneibel. He has two very good arms there.”
“When you get out there, you have to compete with them,” LaCroix said of the Panthers’ aggressive game. “I was happy our guys responded and went right back at them.”
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