Clutch Pitching And Timely Hitting Lead To Panthers’ Win

06/29/2021 8:43 PM -

Crestwood, Ill. – June 29, 2021 – Tuesday’s evening’s matchup between the Crestwood Panthers (10-8) and Southland Vikings (7-12) saw a total of 22 total walks issued, 6 errors committed, and 17 hits. Panthers’ pitching, specifically, had recorded a strike percentage of just 49.4.  

That said, Crestwood forced the Vikings to strand 11 runners on base, as they tip-toed out of multiple no-out and bases-loaded situations. In the end, despite constant command issues, the Panthers maintained a consistent lead, and beat Southland 6-5.  

Starting pitcher Justin Schassburger (Anderson University / Dyer, Ind.) set the tone early, dealing five innings of one-run baseball. Richie LaCien (Lawrence University / New Lenox, Ill.) entered first in relief, notching two scoreless frames before handing the baton to Justin Johnson (Marian University / Cedar Lake, Ind.). Then, to officially close out the game, Kevin Coe Jr. (Eastern Kentucky / Chicago, Ill.) forced a clutch double play off the bat of Luke Sefcik, and finished off the Vikings with a strikeout of Nick McAllister. It was apparent that when the lead became uncertain, Panther pitching continuously stepped up. 

“The kids just fought very hard today,” interim manager Brian Nowakowski said. “Our pitchers held them to just one run through the first eight innings and threw strikes when we needed them. And, later on, Kevin came in and got the groundball double play we really needed. They played really well.”  

At the plate, Maurey Garrett (University of Northwestern Ohio / Homewood, Ill.) led the charge with three hits and three RBIs. Gannon Andrews (Purdue University-Northwest / Portage, Mich.) also added two hits and two runs scored. And, Hayden Matulich (Purdue University-Northwest / San Jose, Calif.) furthered his hot start to the season with an RBI triple to initially put Crestwood on the board. Nowakowski was quite pleased with his team’s timely hitting, especially considering the performance put forth by Garrett. 

“Maurey played really well for us,” Nowakowski said. “He hit the ball really well; everything was a line drive. And, his three RBIs, obviously, made a huge difference in the game.”  

The Panthers will look to add to their win total on Wednesday afternoon, as they take on the Joliet Generals from Dowling Park. Coverage begins at 1 P.M. on the Panthers’ Broadcast Network, available via Facebook Live.