Kevin Bushnell Homers Again as Panthers Narrowly Beat Generals

06/09/2023 12:18 AM -

Griifith, IN- “We’re gonna win a lot more games than people think.”

Those were the words of Assistant Coach Scott Nowakowski who took over for Deandre Gilmore temporarily in the Panthers’ 5-3 victory over the Griffith Generals. 

The Panthers handed the ball to Max Everaert for the second time this season, and the first since Opening Day. Everaert went four innings and allowed two runs in his no-decision. 

The Panthers struck first in the third as George Vilecki singled up the middle to bring in Raigosa. The Generals got to Everaert in the third and scored two via a RBI triple and a RBI single right after. 

Both offenses struggled to get it going after. Alex Marshall took over in the fourth and kept the Generals scoreless for three innings. After that RBI-single from Vilecki, the Panthers were unable to bring another run home against Generals’ pitcher Jimmy Fairley. Fairley went six innings while only allowing the one. 

The Generals were inching closer to their first win of the season, as they brought in their big, hard-thrower Ortiz to take the seventh. The Panthers caught a break as centerfielder Billy Jones let a liner go right past him that gave Kevin Bushnell second base. Bushnell stole third and with two outs and an additional runner on, Alonzo Raigosa tied it up with a base hit which was the second knock of the night for him. 

The Generals went with a new arm in the eighth. With a runner on, Panthers’ slugger Kevin Bushnell stepped up to the dish with the go-ahead run at second. Bushnell hit a moonshot over the deep left field fence for his third homer in 21 at-bats. 

“My mindset was to sit fastball and keep that middle approach. I did not want to overswing, but he kept that pitch a little middle-in and I got my hands through it and it felt good off the bat.”

Despite having an up-the-middle approach, Bushnell has seen all three of his homers go pull-side. Bushnell says how he does not necessarily need to think opposite field when he has two strikes like a lot of players do. Bushnell has a lot of confidence and does not want to overthink anything. 

“I think hit it where it is pitched. I do not really change my approach [with two strikes] and I try to stick with my approach pitch-to-pitch.”

Daniel Gay picked up his second RBI of the year on an infield single with the bases loaded and two outs. 

The Generals had a valiant effort in the bottom of the eighth down 5-2. The Panthers brought in Aubrey Yarbrough. Yarbrough had some control problems in the Opening Day outing and those problems continued to be present. Yarbrough walked the only two batters he faced and was subbed out for Mason Dunlop. Dunlop allowed a base hit to make it 5-3 to the first batter he faced, but then retired the next three.

Adan Vargas went 1-2-3 to close it out and secure the 5-3 victory. This win was the Panthers second win in eight games and was Vargas’ first save of the summer.