As its goal of a Three Rivers Conference championship draws nearer, the Erie-Prophetstown baseball team has a big week with key games against Morrison and Fulton.|
On Thursday, the Panthers prepared for the road ahead by making sure they stayed perfect and on top in the TRAC-9, handling Riverdale 10-0 in a five-inning game at the Rams' diamond.
While the execution was there for an E-P club that capitalized on eight Riverdale errors, Panther coach Jason Orman admitted to feeling worried that his players would be caught looking ahead to their showdowns with the second-place Mustangs and the Steamers.
"Yeah, I was worried," said Orman. "I'm trying to get them focused on battling through this week and putting ourselves in a good position to take a lot of pressure off of ourselves. To just relax and play ball and not press."
After E-P pitcher Kenneth Cole and Riverdale's Dalton Peterson exchanged two scoreless innings, the Panthers (14-7, 10-0 TRAC-9) broke the ice in the top of the third when Brandon McCullough belted a leadoff single and scored on Kyle Coleman's double. That set the stage for the next two innings, in which the Panthers broke the game open.
Cole stayed sharp as he moved to 4-0, allowing just two hits — one a double by Jason Hoehn — walking one and striking out seven. Zach Hart added two hits and two RBIs to support Cole's efforts.
Riverdale 2, Erie-Prophetstown 1 (softball): The softball contest was considerably closer, with the Rams (10-5, 9-3 TRAC-9) needing a passed ball to earn the win as Taylor Young tripled and scored the winning run.
In the bottom of the second inning, Young's two-out single tied the game at 1. After that, the Rams' Sadie Mosher and E-P pitcher Savannah Mettler locked horns in dandy duel. Mettler scattered six hits, but Mosher ended up with a no-hitter, walking one and striking out 14. The Panthers' only run came on a passed ball.
"This was a confidence-builder, especially for Sadie on our Senior Day," Riverdale coach Teri Peterson said. "She really wanted to do her best."
Sitting two games behind league-leading Morrison, the Rams still harbor aspirations of sharing the Three Rivers title with the Fillies, although they need some help along the way.
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