TRACY - Jon Swenson delivered a bases-loaded, game-winning single to right field in the bottom of the seventh inning Tuesday evening, plating Parker Lanoue from third base to lift the Tracy-Milroy-Balaton Panthers to an exciting 9-8 walk-off victory over the Yellow Medicine East Sting in a season-opening, non-conference high school baseball game.
Swenson's base hit, a hard smash on the ground in the hole between first and second, put the capper on a back-and-forth affair that was close all the way and featured scoring in 10 of the 14 half-innings.
"We were fortunate to have the last opportunity at the plate as the home team," said TMB head coach Bill Tauer. "This was a good ballgame to open the year for both teams and a lot of typical early-season things happened on each side. We got some timely hits when we needed them and we also came up big defensively at key moments to earn a nice win over a good team."
Photo by Joe Brown
Tracy-Milroy-Balaton’s Parker Lanoue is all smiles after crossing home plate for the game-winning run off a hit by the Panthers’ Jon Swenson in a 9-8 non-conference victory against Yellow Medicine East Tuesday in Tracy.
Kody Kirsh, JC DeWitte and Joe Ruppert each cracked two singles to lead TMB's nine-hit offensive attack, while the Panthers also drew 11 walks to generate run-scoring chances throughout the game.
Trailing 8-7 with one out in the bottom of the seventh, Jacob Orren coaxed a walk to begin TMB's game-winning rally. Lanoue followed with a walk before Kirsh reached on an infield single to load the bases.
Taylor Hoffbeck, who pitched the final 3 2/3 innings and struck out a trio of batters to earn the win on the mound for the Panthers, then walked to plate pinch-runner Keller Anderson with the tying run.
YME 100 311 2-8 7 3
TMB 210 103 2-9 9 2
YME-Aaron Zieske, Austin Thorstad (4), Jacob Sharkey (7). TMB-Parker Lanoue, Reed Salmon (4), Taylor Hoffbeck (4). WP: Hoffbeck. LP: Sharkey. LOB: YME-10; TMB-11.
Swenson's game-winner ensued, allowing Lanoue to scamper home to give TMB (1-0) a thrilling victory to begin the season.
"We had some good at-bats and kept on playing," Tauer said. "I was pleased with the way we competed and gave ourselves a chance at the end. We don't have a lot of varsity experience returning from last year, but these guys have worked hard in practice and seem ready to take advantage of their opportunity to play at this level."
YME (0-1) scored the game's initial run on an RBI groundout off the bat of Austin Thorstad in the top of the first, as Brandon Grund (2-for-2, three walks) drew a lead-off walk and came around to cross the plate. A great diving catch by Ruppert in right field prevented any further damage in that opening frame.
TMB answered with two runs in the bottom half to take a 2-1 lead, as DeWitte smashed a two-out, two-run single to right field. Hoffbeck (infield single) and Brian Fultz (courtesy running for Swenson) each scored on the play to put the Panthers in front.
Lanoue, who pitched the first three innings for TMB and held YME scoreless in both the second and third, gave the Panthers a 3-1 advantage with an RBI single up the middle in the bottom of the second inning. A pair of errors earlier in the frame aided TMB, as Ruppert reached and came around to score
YME regained the lead (4-3) with a three-run output in the top of the fourth. A two-run single by Grund plated Reed Raddatz (walk) and Adam Koepke (walk), while Elliot Carmany also walked and scored on an error for the Sting.
The Panthers made another highlight play in the field to cut down a potential run in that inning, as Ruppert, Orren and Swenson teamed up for a nifty 9-3-2 relay for the third out on a close play at the plate on a single by Thorstad (2-for-4).
TMB also avoided trouble in the third on a 4-3 double play for the second and third outs, as DeWitte snagged a hard line drive and threw to Orren at first to escape a bases-loaded jam.
"Give TMB credit for making some nice plays, as we certainly had a few more chances to put runs on the board," YME head coach Trevor Schulte said. "We hit the ball fairly well and did a nice job of competing, but a few mistakes here and there left us a little bit short. The good thing about this is that it's early and we'll only get better overall as the season progresses."
After the Panthers scored once in the bottom of the fourth, the Sting scored a run apiece in both the fifth and sixth to go up 6-4. Aaron Zieske (six strikeouts) and Thorstad each pitched three solid innings to help put YME in control through that point.
But TMB started its late-game rally with three runs in the bottom of the sixth, as Kirsh, DeWitte and Ruppert each came through with an RBI single to put the Panthers up 7-6.
The Sting, though, countered with two runs in the seventh to gain an 8-7 edge. That set the stage for the Panthers' final comeback in the bottom half.
Jacob Sharkey pitched the seventh inning for YME. Raddatz, Garrett Londgren and Devon Dyrdahl each had a base hit for the Sting, who host MACCRAY next Tuesday.
Reed Salmon pitched one-third of an inning for the Panthers, who play at Redwood Valley Monday.