Des Moines — The Knoxville Panther baseball team bounced back in a big way Tuesday afternoon, defeating the Chariton Chargers 18-2 in under four complete innings.
Prior to the game, the Panthers showed signs of putting Monday's 6-5 loss to Newton behind them by playing the parking lot of Principal Park. Several baseball parents organized a tailgate party, prior to the team's opportunity to play on the big stage.
Kevin Woodhouse got the first hit for the Panthers with a single to right. With dozens of Panther faithful in the stands, first baseman Jake Kendall set the tone for the entire game in the first inning. Kendall walloped the first pitch thrown to him for a towering, two-run home run to left. There was no doubt the ball was gone the moment it hit the bat. That fact was only emphasized when it bounced off of the giant Templeton Rye bottle near the Cub Club.
The Panthers kept pouring it on. Bryce Zoutte added a single and stole second. Jared McClung drew a walk before Calyn Bumgardner nailed a double to left to bring Zoutte home. Pitcher Cameron Liston got his own pass to first before Braden DeLong hit one to right to score McClung and Bumgardner.
Knoxville's first inning was not done. Leadoff hitter Tony Salato returned to the plate and cleared the bases with his own double to left.
The Panthers went into the second with a 7-0 lead. Liston gave up a double and a walk in the top of the second. The Chargers were quickly neutralized when Woodhouse led a double play at third. When the Panthers returned to the plate, it was as if nothing had changed.
Kendall snuck a single between third and short. Ross Shelford advanced him to second on a sacrifice bunt. Zoutte was able to reach first and send Kendall to third when the Chariton shortstop bobbled the ball. Both were sent home on a double down the left field line by McClung to bring the score to 9-0.