No. 8 Panthers break scoreless tie in seventh to beat A-W
AKRON — Class 1A No. 8 Kingsley-Pierson broke a scoreless tie in the top half of the seventh as they came away with a 6-0 victory over Akron-Westfield on Tuesday.
The first six innings of the game consisted of a battle on the mound between K-P’s Jessen Reinking and A-W’s Nick Jacobs. When the Westerners put in a reliever in the seventh, the Panthers pounced and scored their six runs. For A-W Head Coach Gordy Johnson, the decision to pull Jacobs had to do with pitch counts and setting up his team for the postseason.
“We wanted to keep Nick under 90,” Johnson said. “I really hate taking him out, but we had to stick with our plan and that’s what the plan was. Nick pitched a heck of a game. He hit his spots, was throwing hard, was hitting his spot with his curveball.”
Jacobs struck out 12 in his six innings on the mound as he scattered three hits and a walk. He took the no-decision after leaving the game with 85 pitches which means he would be available to pitch in Saturday’s district opener against Central Lyon.
Reinking was just a little bit more efficient on getting his outs, ending with a complete game win on 89 pitches, leaving him with one to spare before hitting the cutoff which would have forced him to rest for four days instead of three. He will be available to pitch in the team’s district opener against Whiting. Reinking ended his night with six strikeouts as he gave up a pair of hits and three walks with most of those coming in the opening inning.
“A little bit of a rocky first inning but after that he dialed it in and got his off-speed working,” K-P Head Coach Taylor Doeschot said. “He kept us in the game throwing strikes, throwing hard and got some strikeouts but our defense was just as good as he was tonight.”
The Westerners got the bases loaded in the first before Reinking got Sawyer Drent to strike out looking and then Leighton Blake to swing at strike three to get out of the inning.
The Panthers had a few opportunities prior to the seventh but were unable to capitalize. Damon Schmid reached on a bunt single, stole second base and then advanced to third on the play before getting left stranded there in the fourth inning. Matt Christophersen reached the next inning on another bunt single which Doeschot said is an option the team can use.
“Team speed is pretty good on our team,” Doeschot said. “Jacobs threw a nice game. Hard thrower, had a good curveball working so we just tried to manufacture base runners any way we can and we did that, we just didn’t put the balls in play behind them to get them in. We’re a pretty versatile club, we can hit the ball with the best of them and we can play small-ball, too.”
The Panthers got the first two runners on in the sixth before Jacobs got the next three batters to strike out.
“This is one of those games where the first couple innings and even through the fourth and fifth, you’ve just got to grind it out,” Doeschot said. “I told them not all games can be 8-0, 9-0, 10-1 games. I knew our bats would come through and we had chances throughout the middle innings to score, we just didn’t get the job done a few times. They grinded it out and these games are so important because down the road in district play as the teams get better and your competition gets better, you have to have that spirit and that grind to get through it, so I’m happy that we played this great ball club over here.”
A-W turned to Carter Drent in relief in the seventh and he left the game without recording an out. Matt Christophersen doubled to begin the frame and stole third. Jackson Howe picked up the RBI single with his hit going up the middle. Damon Bowman reached on a bunt and Kyler Krieg loaded the bases by getting drilled in the side by a pitch.
Daytona Foley came in to pitch after the HBP with wild pitches scoring the next two runs. Schmid singled up the middle to extend the score to 4-0 and Reinking added two more as a hit and subsequent error allowed the runs to come home.
Akron-Westfield dropped to 13-12 following the loss. While Johnson said he wants to win every game, the team had to keep in mind the bigger picture as they play for what could be a rematch against the Panthers in the district final between the top two seeds in the bracket.
“We showed tonight that we can play with them,” Johnson said. “We might not get there. I think we could, but we’ve got to get by Central Lyon, they’re playing a lot better and then we’ve got to get by the next round. We’ve got a long ways to go before we’d play them again, but it was good to measure up with them and go toe-to-toe. Would have been fun to see if Nick could have got through one more inning and see if we could have scratched one out in the bottom of the inning.”
Kingsley-Pierson improves to 25-4 with the win as they hope to accomplish something the school hasn’t done since 2002, which is advance to the state tournament.
“I’ll put our team up with any team and I think we can compete,” Doeschot said. “It takes lot of skill, but a little luck to get to state and hopefully things continue and we continue to pitch and play good defense and hit and the scoreboard will take care of itself.”
|K-P||0 0 0 0 0 0 6 6|
|A-W||0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|
K-P: Hits- 8; Walks- 2; 2B- Mat. Christophersen; 3B- None; HR- None; RBI- Reinking 2, Schmid 1, Howe 1; Pitching: Jessen Reinking (W)- 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 Ks.
A-W: Hits- 2; Walks- 3; 2B- Blake; 3B- None; HR- None; RBI- None; Pitching: Nick Jacobs- 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 12 Ks; Carter Drent (L)- 0 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 0 K; Daytona Foley- 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.