STRYKER – Pettisville couldn’t keep up with two big innings by Stryker as the Panthers knocked out the Blackbirds 10-2 in a Division IV baseball sectional final Thursday at Stryker.
It was a 1-0 game until the Panthers scored five runs in the bottom of the fourth. Two bunts were used, with one being a suicide squeeze by Kristian Grapengeter. Jackson Wonders and Logan Boetz added run-scoring singles, which ended the day for Nate Hartzler on the mound.
Justin Rupp came on and got two ground balls back to him on the mound to end the inning.
Pettisville got back in the game with two runs in the top of the sixth. A walk to Rupp and a single by Landon Roth put two runners on, and the Blackbirds successfully moved the runners around. Austin Horning drove one in with a groundout, then Dillon King added a run on a swinging bunt.
“We didn’t quit,” said Pettisville coach Paul Bishop. “We showed some fight there.”
Stryker came back with four runs in the bottom of the frame. Brody Shock drove in a run with a double, plus the Panthers used a safety squeeze.
“They do that,” Bishop said about Stryker using small-ball to produce runs. “They play like that. You have to know the situation. They got them down and executed.”
Shock, who picked up the win on the mound for Stryker, got out of trouble in the top of the first after Pettisville collected a pair of hits. He also was helped out by his fielders, who turned a great relay play to the plate to throw out Logan Rufenacht trying to score.
“We came out and were swinging pretty well in that first inning,” said Bishop. “We had a couple hits. That relay play they had got us at home. It took two good throws. They executed and got us out at the plate. We took a gamble on that.”
Shock gave Stryker a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the inning with a lead-off home run to the short porch in left.
King had a pair of hits to lead the Blackbirds.
Reach Randy Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org