After a tough battle on the baseball field, the Cougars were unable to add a win to their 1-6 record during the home game Wednesday night, March 22.
The cougars came to play ball against the Daviess County Panthers, wanting to prove themselves as the season did not start off so well. The game went nine innings in an exhilarating, fun to watch game that proved the Cougars don’t have any quit in them.
They tried to pull off a comeback victory as they put their rally hats on and caught some life in the bottom of the seventh inning. The score tied but the cougars just couldn’t put the pieces together as their errors caught up with them. The Cougars ultimately failed to win, 11-10.
The game started off strong as senior pitcher Riley Mudd took the mound and struck out his first batter looking. A double by Panther’s Liebert gave the Panthers their first base runner and hit of the night. Mudd continued to pitch well with two outs, but errors got the best of the Cougars.
An error and a wild pitch cost the Cougars two runs, giving the Panthers a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. The Cougars came back fighting as the third hitter, Riley Mudd roped a double to deep right center field. Hunter Shiarella in a 2-1 count, got the pitch he wanted as he smacked the ball to deep right field where it looked like it would never land. The home run by Shiarella gave him his second of the year and tied the game up at 2-2.
Heading into the second inning of play the Cougars showed off their defensive skills as they pulled off the old fashioned 5-4-3 double play to hold the Panthers from scoring. But during the bottom of the lineup the cougars couldn’t get their bats together as one popped out and two struck out.
The third inning was a tough one defensively for the Cougars. Mudd pitched into two quick outs but walked the next batter which set up the Cougars next error. A hard-hit ball to right field was missed, causing Panther’s Schneider to run around all the bases for an inside the park home run scoring two. Adversity had set in for the Cougars which they responded to poorly.
Another double, followed up by a single scored one more run which made it 5-2. The Cougars rallied back with a Hunter Young double, a well-executed sac bunt play by Bullock, and Mudd getting hit by a pitch giving the cougars runners all around. A wild pitch allowed Young to eventually score making it 3-5 heading to the fourth inning.
Riley Mudd pitched his final inning in the fourth but not before he gave up to two walks and two hits causing the Panthers to increase their lead 7-3.
During the fifth inning the Cougars brought in freshman pitcher, Caine Smith who proved worthy enough as he shut down the Panthers. At the bat Cougars started with a Panther error that allowed Braxton Hodges to get on base.
Next up Briley Napier hit a hard line drive right up the middle. A play at the plate was about to take place. The Panther’s center fielder came up throwing to the plate when Hodges and the catcher collided, but the call went in the Panther’s favor calling Hodges out.
The sixth inning came with Smith not being able to find the zone, walking three and hitting one. This made the score 10-3.
The Cougars knew coming into the dugout to hit that they needed to put together something that could cut into the lead. It started off with a Shoemaker walk and a pitch that hit Simon. Shoemaker was picked off in a pickle giving the Cougars their first out. Daviess County pitcher then walked Stallings to make it runners at first and second. Lead-off hitter Hunter Young a took a nice cut and got a single which scored one. Panther’s pitching continued to struggle as he hit two more in a row giving the Cougars two more runs. The score going into the seventh was now 6-1.
In the seventh inning, the Panthers took the suffering of Smith as he struck two more out and got a pop out. Cougars were on their way to make a comeback. First up to the plate for the cougars was Briley Napier who ripped it to the Panther’s third baseman, who couldn’t hang with it.
Shoemaker was walked again and Stallings laid down a bunt and with his speed, he was safe at first. Cougars came back to the top of their lineup when Young hit a hard ground ball at second which created an error.
The Runner advanced scoring one run. Bullock gets hit by a pitch which scores another. Mudd comes up and gets a quality base and scores again. The Cougars are rolling now and you can hear it in their dugout. A wild pitch scores another run tying the game up at 10-10. Unfortunately, the run ended and causing the game to go to extra innings.
The eighth inning was quick and poor for both teams as they had 1,2,3 up 1,2,3 down.
The ninth inning came and it was all about who wanted it more. Panthers came out with a single, followed by a nicely executed sacrifice bunt that moved the runner up to second. The next batter was hit by a pitch and another wild pitch allowed the runners to move up to second and third base. The next batter came up and hit a pop-up out to right field where Braxton Hodges caught it, wound up and made a throw to home. It was too late though… The Panthers had already scored the run to increase their lead 11-10. The Cougars came back into the dugout vigorously, but a new pitcher for the Panthers had too much power, which ultimately ended up being too much for the Cougars. The Cougars lost 11-10.
The Cougars fought back hard and took advantage of opportunities when they could. A very good game that could have gone either way. The team has only three returning starters and the young, inexperienced cougars continue to learn and grow through each practice and game. Adversity has stricken them already. Will the Cougars be able to highlight their skills and get the wheels turning with some wins? Come find out at their next home game as they play take on the Bruins of Central Hardin on Friday, March 31.