"I told the kids before the game, 'Make the simple stuff. Keep the game even,'" K-P head coach Kevin Hardie said. "And the routine things, we fell apart on."
The Wildcats jumped to a 3-1 lead after one inning and then scored on a wild pitch in the second to lead 4-1 after two.
The Panthers tried to chip away at the deficit, but stranded 10 baserunners in the contest.
"That's too many," Hardie said. "We didn't get the clutch hits when we needed them and when you're trailing, that's what you have to do. That's what happened tonight."
"I was excited about tonight and I thought we could do it," Hardie said.
The key for the Wildcats was playing first-class ball, head coach Kurt Bremer said.
"As long as the kids keep a positive note - if we would happen to fall behind, we can always come back," Bremer said. "Any time you play a first-class team like K-P, it's always nice to come out with a win."
Brandon Bainbridge suffered the loss, striking out seven and scattering eight hits in the complete game performance. The junior only walked three but did not have the defensive support he needed behind him and K-P lacked the offense to push its runners across the plate.
"I thought Brandon pitched fine," Hardie said. "He didn't have his slider working for him in the first couple innings. Once we got into the fourth and he settled in, he started working on that in his warmups and you could see he was pitching it really well.
"Brandon did his job. We just made mistakes."
Colin Christiansen went the distance for the Wildcats. He struck out five, walked seven and allowed six hits in the win.
K-P got on the board in the bottom of the first with an RBI double from Tyler Sudbeck.
Tyler Campbell's sacrifice fly in the fifth scored Travis Neumann and Neumann scored again in the seventh on the Wildcats' only error of the game.
Sudbeck had a pair of hits for K-P while Tate Rohde, Ryan Mercer, Justin Keck and Todd Bottorff each singled in the loss.
The Panthers graduate two seniors in Sudbeck and Bottorff.
"Sudbeck has been playing since eighth grade and was a four-year starter," Hardie said. "He's a great kid and he wants to win everything. He's going to be missed.
"Todd played as a freshman and then took two years off. It was nice to see him come out this year. For two years off, he played well and we're going to miss him too."
The Wildcats advance to play Ar-We-Va in Saturday's district final in Moville. The Rockets defeated Woodbine 3-2 on Thursday in Dunlap.
"I told the kids all year long, 'All that matters is that you play tough toward the end of the year,'" Bremer said. "Right now we are making the plays we need to make and taking advantage of what we need to take advantage of at the plate."