Panthers big 6th inning slams door on Pettisville

By Joe Blystone - For the Expositor

Yes rebound is usually a basketball term.

But mired in a four game losing streak and down 6-2 early to Pettisville Tuesday, rebound is exactly what Damon Mattimore’s Delta Panthers did as they came from behind and used a nine-run sixth to beat the Blackbirds 17-8.

“We are figuring it out on the fly,” said Mattimore. “We’ve got a couple young kids here and there, we started a sophomore (Cole Mattin) on the mound today. It just takes time.”

Pettisville marked a pair in the top of the first against Mattin on Nate Hartzler’s two-run single before the Panthers countered with a Justin Anderson run-scoring hit and Travis Dunning’s force play that scored the tying run in the bottom of the inning.

However, when the Birds tallied four more in the top of the second, the Panthers went behind the eight-ball.

John Rufenacht walked, Christian Stevens singled, then an error scored the first Pettisville run.

Landon Roth’s ground out got another home and Logan Rufenacht’s two-out base hit brought home two more.

However, the Panthers had an answer against the Blackbirds’ Austin Horning.

Travis Barnes drew a one-out walk and stole second.

Gabe Freeman’s sharp single scored Barnes and Mattin was hit by a pitch, and after a double steal, Jason Beverly’s shot into left center scored both runners to chop the lead to 6-5.

“(Horning) did a good job staying low and away on us and we were trying to pull a little bit early and we got together with our kids and told them to go with the kid and the way he wants to throw the ball and we started getting line drives opposite field and the kids bought into it,” explained Mattimore.

Delta tied it up in the fourth when Freeman pounded a triple to deep right center and Mattin’s fly ball scored him.

The Panthers finally claimed the lead in the bottom of the fifth against Hartzler in relief.

Barnes’ booming triple to center and Freeman’s third hit, a double down the right field line along with a throwing error chalked up three Delta runs to make it 9-6.

Pettisville got a pair back against reliever Anderson in the sixth on Dillon King’s sharp single to slice the deficit to 9-8 before Delta exploded for an eight spot in the bottom of the inning.

A couple of Blackbird errors, two hit batters, three walks, Anderson’s two-run single and Dunning’s run-scoring hit were the keys in the inning.

Anderson picked up the victory on the hill in relief while Hartzler was tagged with the loss.

Delta goes back above .500 at 7-6, while Pettisville falls to 2-5.

By Joe Blystone

For the Expositor

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