Panthers clinch share of Big East title

PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth Panthers clinched at least a share of the Big East Conference baseball championship with a 19-2 rout over visiting Kohler/Christian Saturday.

There was no letdown by the Panthers after coming off two key BEC battles against Kiel on Friday. PHS edged the Raiders, 5-4, in 11 innings and was tied 11-11 with Kiel in game two when the contest was suspended in the bottom of the sixth inning due to darkness.

The Panthers’ win over K/C improved their BEC record to 16-3 (18-9 overall), one-game ahead of Kiel (15-4 in the league).

PHS can win the title outright with a victory over Kiel in the game Tuesday, July 12 which will be the completion of the suspended contest. The game, which closes out both teams’ league and regular seasons, is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. at PHS.

“It’s nice to have a share of the conference title but there’s more work to be done. We have a chance to win the conference [outright],” said Panther head coach Butch Cain.

“We came out with a lot of energy [against K/C]. We played loose and everyone contributed.

“We were very focused. This was a great way to hopefully play one inning [versus Kiel] for the conference title,” said Cain.

The Panthers pounded out 14 hits, led by Austin Struve with three. Taylor Struve, Will Birkholz and Sam Miller added two each. Freshman Jack Nytes slugged a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Miller and Jake Steinhardt paced PHS in RBIs with three apiece. Zac Kaiser scored a teamhigh three runs. The Panthers drew nine walks.

Holden Reilly earned the win – allowing one run (earned) on five hits with one walk and six strikeouts in four innings. Ben Picard finished up and gave up one run (unearned) on one hit with one walk and zero strikeouts in one frame. The game was called after 4½ innings due to the 10-run rule.

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