07/20/2023 11:10 AM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nick Kane
Highland High School
Highland, IN- JULY 16- The Panthers found themselves in a spot where they can take advantage of the season. Recently snapping a losing streak a day before, the Panthers got to take on the team above them in the standings for that last playoff spot. Twice. At home.
Everything got off to a good start for Jaden Jones and the Panthers. Jones cruised through the first four innings while not allowing a hit. It looked like Jones was going to be unlucky with the amount of run support he was given, but the Panthers flipped the switch in the fourth inning.
With some baserunners on, “Scooch” Scumaci drilled a ball in the left-center gap for a double that brought in two. Since joining the Panthers, Damon Brena has been a reliable RBI guy. That did not change in game one when he followed Scumaci with an RBI groundout. Scumaci scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-0. In that same inning, Josh Outlaw came to the plate with two runners on. Outlaw hit a ball well over the right field fence for a three-run homer.
“I was just looking for a fastball in the zone off of a new pitcher. Once I saw the fastball up, I just turned on it.”
This homer was one of the farthest Highland High School has seen in a very long time. Although Outlaw has the ability to hit home runs, one of that magnitude is a little surprising for some considering Outlaw is a tall, lengthy guy that uses the whole field and someone whose speed is really their biggest factor. Outlaw said he was not surprised to hit a ball that far and neither should anyone else be.
“I am usually a line drive hitter, but when I get something good to turn on, I love to see how far I hit it.”
Outlaw is another one of those guys who was a late arrival. Outlaw has seemingly felt no pressure trying to mesh with a new team and make an immediate impact.
“To me it is just baseball. I do not really consider it a ‘new situation’. Just playing the game the way I like to and having fun with these new teammates and coaches.”
The Panthers offense was not done, and neither was Jaden Jones. After going three up, three down in the fifth with two strikeouts, the Panthers added one to their seven run lead in the fifth.
The Panthers got their eighth run off of another wild pitch. The Miracle pitchers continued to struggle to find the zone as a Khyle Radcliffe walk with the bases loaded made it 9-0. Josh Outlaw got his fourth, fifth, and sixth RBI of the game with a base-clearing double to make it 12-0.
With the game ending in the sixth inning, Jones was technically only one out away from a no-hitter. Jones got a fly out and a strikeout before allowing the first Miracle hit of the game which was a home run from all-star Dawson Willis.
Jones went the full six innings played while allowing one run on two hits. Jones struck out six while only walking one. Jones’ best start of the season on an already incredibly impressive 2023 campaign.
Even though it was in everyone else’s minds, Jones was not even aware of the no-hit bid. He says it because he was too locked in and focused.
“I am going to be honest with you, I did not really know I had a no-hitter going to the fifth” said Jones with a smile on his face.
Jones also credited his fabulous start to his ability to execute his off-speed pitches as well as the chemistry he had with catcher Damon Brena
“I tend to go off-speed a lot. It was great to see it working so well for me in today’s game.”
“He [Brena] was great,” said Jones. “Definitely good with the pitch calling. Also got me a lot of pitches on the outer half.”
The Miracle responded with a blowout of their own in game 2. It was almost as if the roles reversed as the Miracle had great pitching and timely hitting and the Panthers offense struggled as well as their pitchers.
Things got off to a rough start for starting pitcher Anthony Scanlon as he gave up two in the first.
The Panthers looked like they were going to be able to make a ballgame out of the not so promising start as Daniel Gay cut the lead in half by scoring on a wild pitch in the second and Scanlon got a scoreless third.
The Panthers got the lead in the fourth courtesy of another run scored by Daniel Gay via a wild pitch and then Josh Lamb doing the same thing. It was 3-2 Panthers with only three more innings to play, but with the Panthers short on pitching and Scanlon running out of gas, things went south for the Panthers.
The Miracle picked up two to take the lead back in the sixth and also got the Panthers to go scoreless in the bottom half of the inning.
The Miracle put up an eight spot in the seventh inning to secure them the victory and keep them in fourth place. Anthony Scanlon finished by going six innings allowing 10 runs on 11 hits. Outfielder Daniel Gay came in to pitch in a jam and gave up all the runs he inherited.
The Panthers will get back to work and take on the Oilmen after the all-star break. Every game means so much as the Panthers will give it their best effort to get back in a playoff spot.