SHENANDOAH – Mustang pitching couldn’t contain Creston’s bats as the Panthers swept a doubleheader from Shenandoah 18-8 and 12-3, Wednesday, July 10.
The first game was called after six innings due to the run rule.
The losses represented Shenandoah’s last regular season games of the season. The Mustangs enter the district tournament with a 7-22 overall record. They finish Hawkeye 10 Conference play at 2-18.
The Mustangs opened the game in grand fashion with a three-run first inning. Owen McCunn singled with one out and then AJ Herold launched his fifth home run of the season. The Mustangs had runners at first and second when Cain Lorimor smashed a double into the right center gap scoring one. Blake Doyle, though, was tagged out at the plate trying to score from first, but the Mustangs had a 3-0 lead.
Lorimor kept Creston off the scoreboard in the first two innings, but Creston hit him for five runs in the third and seven more in the fourth. A Britain Miller single and a Gage Skarda double started the third. Eli Loudon followed with a three-run home run to tie the game. Luke Latham added a two-run blast later in the inning to make it 5-3.
Shenandoah jumped back in front with a three-run third. Kyle Cerven singled with one out, and Blake Doyle walked with two away. Gavin Shawler replaced Keagan Smith on the mound and was welcomed by Lorimor’s RBI double. Devin Morelock then singled in two.
Loudon, Gavin Gillam and Luke Latham all doubled in a run for the Panthers in the fourth, but a three-run home run by Smith supplied the main highlight in giving Creston the lead for good.
Creston added one more run in the fifth, but the Mustangs responded with two. Walks to Doyle and Lorimor turned into runs on a double by Morelock and a single by Braden Knight.
The Panthers scored five runs on one hit in the sixth off of Blake Herold, who induced an inning ending double play to avoid further damage.
The Mustangs weren’t able to score in the sixth, ending the game.
Playing as the home team in the nightcap, Creston led the entire way. Loudon opened the first inning with a double and scored on an error. A bases loaded walk from Mustang pitcher Logan Dickerson added another run. That walk came with no outs, but Dickerson was able to induce a line out and two fly outs to keep the score at 2-0.
Loudon added his second home run of the night in the second inning, a two-run blast to make it 4-0.
Herold answered with his second home run of the day, a solo shot, in the third. He now has six home runs and 27 RBIs on the season.
“When (Herold) is hitting the ball that hard, it’s when he is picking out a good pitch to hit,” Shenandoah coach Brett Roberts said. “A lot of it is with no strikes and that’s a good approach. He’s seeing the ball well and picking out pitches.”
Creston added two more runs in the third and then three off of Mustang relief pitcher Devin Morelock in the fifth inning, but Shenandoah pulled two runs back in the sixth. Lorimor walked, advanced to second on a passed ball and third on a groundout. Brody Owen was hit by a pitch and then Knight’s sacrifice fly scored Lorimor. A wild pitch moved Owen to second and he scored on an error.
Creston added the game’s final three runs in the sixth.
Shenandoah’s offense finished the day with 11 runs on 15 hits.
“First game we had some good approaches,” said Roberts. “The wind blowing out helped both teams, them more than us, but we had some good at-bats. We couldn’t keep the energy going both games. It’s hard to sustain energy through a doubleheader, but we have to do a better job. The second game was just weird and we couldn’t get it going.”
Lorimor led Shenandoah’s offense with four hits on the day. McCunn added three while Morelock and Herold had two each.
Five Mustang pitchers combined to give up 30 runs.
“We couldn’t use anyone that we planned on using at all on Saturday,” said Roberts. “Cain dealt with some bad wind conditions, a hot-hitting baseball team and an iffy strike zone. Logan (Dickerson) had a gutsy effort. He pitched Tuesday in relief and came back (Wednesday) and got us through four. Those are learning moments for those guys and we’ll move on from there.”
The Mustangs now set their sights on the Class 2A District 15 Tournament where they are the six-seed in the six-team bracket.
“We’re going to have to play clean,” said Roberts. “Our pitchers need to hit spots and our hitters have to have productive at-bats. We can’t have strikeouts with runners on. We have to play team baseball with high energy. If we can be out there relaxed and having fun then we’ll have a chance.”
Several pictures from the doubleheader can be seen at valleynewstoday.com.
Saturday’s game is at Underwood against the hosts and the second game of a district doubleheader with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m.