06/05/2021 6:05 PM -
Crestwood, Ill. – June 5, 2021 – In their quest to win five straight games, and further strengthen their lead in the MCL standings, the Crestwood Panthers (4-3) fell short on Saturday afternoon, losing 12-4 to the Southland Vikings (2-2).
Out of the gate, the Panthers trailed, allowing three runs in the first inning and never fully recovering. In the fifth, however, outfielder Gabe Halaby (University of Chicago / Monument, Colo.) launched a two-run home run into dead center field, allowing Crestwood to stay within striking distance. That said, besides additional RBIs from Hayden Matulich (Purdue University Northwest / San Jose, Calif.) and Tyler Schultz (Purdue University Northwest / Hobart, Ind.), the Panthers’ offense was stymied by an excellent pitching performance from Vikings’ southpaw Jake Paymaster.
“We had some hard-hit baseballs, but they made some really good plays in the field,” said assistant coach Reggie Brock. “They found ways to stop us when we had runners in scoring position, and that really hurt us offensively.”
On the mound, Crestwood did exhibit some control struggles, posting nine walks as a team. That said, they also recorded 14 strikeouts. Bennett Wogan (Dominican University / Momence, Ill.) had eight in three-plus innings of work. Antwon Herndon-Walker (Calumet College / Hammond, Ind.) added four of his own in three innings out of the bullpen. And Dino Biggers (Illinois Wesleyan / Naperville, Ill.) earned two in two innings of relief.
“We really just had one bad inning,” Brock said. “That first inning was tough to get through, but we continued to fight, and made it close at times. Our pitchers battled throughout and gave lots of effort.”
Brock’s biggest takeaway from the loss was the Panthers’ situational hitting. The team stranded nine runners on base. Had that not been the case, Brock believes the game could have ended differently.
“We definitely need to take situational hitting more seriously,” Brock said. “We can’t be stranding that many guys in scoring position. We need to make adjustments in the games to come.”
After an off day on Sunday, the Panthers will return to action on Monday evening, as they oppose the MCL Minutemen from Riverside Park. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 P.M. and can be streamed on the Panthers Facebook Live page.