Panthers Win a Thriller, Magic Number Now One

07/30/2023 10:28 AM -


Contact: Nick Kane

Highland High School

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Highland, IN- JULY 29- The Panthers were in the midst of a four game winning streak and had their biggest game of the year. Their opponent was also playing with a huge chip on their shoulder. The Panthers Miracle game lived up to the hype and then some.

The Panthers put up a crooked number in the first. The first run was brought in via a George Bilecki groundout. Jason Ballard followed with an RBI single. The most notable play in the inning was off the bat of Josh Williams. Williams drilled a ball over the right field fence to make it 4-0 Panthers. The Panthers extended the inning and grabbed another one off of a wild pitch. The Panthers brought up 11 to the plate and were up big. 

Jaden Jones cruised through the first two innings and was looking to repeat his last outing against the Miracle a little over a week ago. The Miracle finally figured things out against Jones in the third inning. The Miracle picked up four including one off of one of the eventual nine errors the Panthers made. Just like that, it was a one run game. 

Jones got through one more inning before Anthony Scanlon was inserted in the game. Jones’ last inning of work did not go too smoothly as he allowed the lead and it was 7-5 Miracle. 

Jones went four innings and struck out three and walked two. He allowed seven runs on seven hits. The Panthers defense did not help him out as only five runs were earned. Jones got the no-decision. 

Bilecki picked up his second RBI of the day in the fourth with an RBI double. That was all the Panthers were able to pick up in the bottom half of the fourth. 

In a 7-6 game, the Miracle added two more by using another error to their advantage and collecting a sacrifice fly. It was 9-6, but the Panthers were not done and Scanlon began to settle in. 

A couple of Damon Brena RBI singles helped the Panthers inch closer. One in the fifth and one in the seventh. The bottom of the seventh was nothing short of chaos as the Panthers tied the game despite getting their first two batters out. A couple reached to give Brena the RBI, but with runners still on base, Jayden Cummings followed with a base hit to tie the game. The Panthers even got the winning run at third, but the Miracle got the last out on a flyout.

Both teams worked some magic to get a scoreless eighth inning. The Miracle looked to be in a  prime spot to win the game when a bunt single by Cole Mason  turned into a little league home run after error eight by Scanlon and error nine by Williams in the same play.

Panthers had three more outs to play with in a crucial game that has already lived up to the hype. Brena led the inning off with his third single of the game. With one out, Josh Outlaw tied the game at 10 with a double. Unbelievable. The Miracle now had to try to force a tenth inning in a game that was only supposed to be seven.

Two walks loaded the bases for Josh Williams, who already has a homer, a triple, and a handful of real solid defensive plays. However, at the moment, the play everyone was thinking of was that throwing error in the top of the ninth. Williams redeemed himself and capped off his nearly perfect day with the biggest hit of the season. A shot to right to score Outlaw and crown the Panthers victorious in an absolutely wild game. 

With one Panthers win or a Miracle loss, the Panthers are in the playoffs. The Miracle on the other hand were playing for their season and came up short in heartbreaking fashion. With that loss, the Miracle have lost five straight and their playoff hopes look slim. The Panthers will go back home riding a five game winning streak and will look to clinch them a playoff spot Sunday, July 30 and host the Northwest Indiana Oilmen.