06/15/2023 1:34 AM
Nappanee, IN.- The Panthers found themselves in another incredibly tight game on Wednesday when they squared off against the Elkhart County Miracle for the third time this season. After a 3-2 loss on Wednesday, they have now played the Miracle in a one-run game every contest. The Miracle won two and the Panthers won last Thursday 7-6.
Max Evereart got the start for the third time this season and he was brilliant in the no-decision bid. Everaert went seven innings allowing two runs and striking out three.
The Panthers got on the board first in the top of the fourth when no other than Panthers’ RBI leader Kevin Bushnell came through with an RBI-double that scored John-Michael “Scooch” Scumaci. Bushnell picked up right where he left off after going 1-2 with two RBI’s in the Panthers’ last contest at the Generals. Bushnell had another multi-hit night as he went 2-5 on the night.
The Miracle took the lead in the fifth off Everaert. The Miracle picked up four singles and two runs in the inning to make it a 2-1 ballgame. This marked the first time the Panthers trailed in a game since June 9 at the Oilmen.
The Miracle lead did not last long as new substitute Beau Polickey grounded out to short to bring in Jonny Crowell in the top of the seventh. This was the last inning for Miracle pitcher Sam Russo, who like Everaert, smoothly went seven innings while allowing only two runs. Russo managed to strike out seven Panther batters in his outing.
Alex Marshall was given the ball from Deandre Gilmore in a tied eighth inning. Marshall did all he could do as he went two scoreless innings only allowing one hit. The Miracle only needed one more guy to come in relief. They brought in Castillo in the eighth and the eventual winning pitcher went four scoreless innings. The Panthers were only able to get five baserunners on in Castillo’s relief appearance.
Joelmis Mendez inherited the bottom of the 10th with the winning-run at first base. The Miracle bunted him over, but Mendes got a huge strikeout. Mendez, who struggled with his command in his first start against the Miracle, then walked a batter. Mendez overcame the pressure and reduced a flyout to center for the last out of the inning.
Jonny Crowell led the inning off with a base hit as he finished his night going 2-3 with two walks, but the Panthers were not able to bring him in.
Mendez walked the leadoff batter in the bottom of the 11th and he stole second. He then scored on an error by the third baseman and the Panthers fourth error of the game.
The Panthers drop to 5-8. The Miracle came into the game with the same record as the Panthers, but now are a game ahead in the standings as the Northern League playoff race continues to be close and intense. The Panthers will be back on the road Thursday, June 15 as they will take on the red-hot Oilmen at Oil City Stadium at 7:10 p.m. CT.