Knoxville — The Panther baseball team took both games in a double header vs. Grinnell in Knoxville Wednesday night.
In the first game, several big Panther hits lifted them past the Tigers, 8-4. The final of the second game was 4-3.
Victory did not look as though it was assured early in the first game, as starting pitcher Bryce Zoutte struggled. Zoutte walked four in the top of the first, including a walk-in run. With two outs in the inning Coach Joel Johnson pulled Zoutte and put Jac Agan on the mound.
The Panthers were able to tie the game on a sacrifice fly by Kevin Woodhouse, who drove Ross Shelford home. Shelford started the Knoxville half of the inning off with a single, followed by a single by Tony Salato that got Shelford to third. Salato's pinch-runner, Brandon Iddings, was caught trying to steal before Woodhouse's sacrifice.
When Agan returned to the mound, a pair of questionable balk calls gave the Tigers the lead. Grinnell was able to score one more to put them up 3-1.
Determined to come back, Jake Kendall got things started for the Panthers in the bottom of the second with a powerful line drive to deep center, putting him on second. Nolan Wallace immediately followed this with a double of his own to left, which scored Kendall. A walk and a hit by pitch filled the bases for Knoxville. Designated hitter Brock Caviness then stepped up to the plate and sent the baseball screaming to left-center for a bases-clearing double. The Panthers led 5-3 by the end of the second.
Kaden Loscher came on in relief in the top of the third. Grinnell collected a few hits, but Knoxville's defense kept the Tigers away from the plate. Grinnell scored one more in the fourth, but an athletic catch by Shelford helped Knoxville end the top of the fourth.
The Panthers were not done piling on. In the bottom of the fifth, Jared McClung singled. Kendall took a walk before Grinnell decided to change pitchers. Wallace singled to left to score McClung. Two batters later, Agan cleared the bases and reached third in the process to give the Panthers their final score of 8-4.
The defense picked it up from there to protect the lead and Loscher the victory. The Panthers are scheduled to play at Oskaloosa Friday night, with JV starting at 5:30 p.m.
Look for more on the games in the June 28 Journal-Express.