Pilot Grove baseball coach Clint Poulsen expected the unexpected Wednesday night in a make-up game against the Prairie Home Panthers.
Having last played back on March 19 against the New Franklin Bulldogs, Poulsen said he really didn’t know what might happen against the Panthers.
What happened is that Pilot Grove struggled at the plate while managing only six hits but made up for it in pitching and defense to beat the Panthers 11-2.
“After not playing in a couple of weeks it took a while for our bats to wake up,” Poulsen said. “We had 13 strikeouts and four of those were called and that just can’t continue to happen We have to find people that can put the ball in play on a consistent basis if we expect to win consistently. Trevor Day had a big bases clearing double early in the game to give us a lead and then Kendall broke it open with a three-run homer late in the game. Trenton had a good night on the mound even without his best stuff. The entire roster got to get into the game and most of them got an at-bat. We have to come back and work hard at practice on Thursday before taking on Otterville on Friday at home.”
While the win improved Pilot Grove’s record to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the CCAA, it’s safe to say the Tigers showed a little bit of rust against Prairie Home. Nonetheless, Pilot Grove opened the game with one run in the bottom-half of the first and then sent four runs across in the second and one again in the third to make it 6-0. Meanwhile, after Prairie Home plated one run in each of the fourth and fifth innings of play, the Tigers came back with a five spot in their half of the fifth on the three-run home run by Kendall Kraus to extend the lead to 11-2.
Trenton Young picked up the win on the mound for Pilot Grove while Trever Huth took the loss for Prairie Home, who dropped to 0-1 on the season.
Young pitched the first-five innings and struck out 11 batters while giving up two runs on four hits and four walks. Jake Leverton then came in and pitched two innings in relief and allowed two hits while striking out two. For Prairie Home, Huth pitched the first-four innings and struck out nine batters while surrendering six runs on two hits and five walks. Nathan Small then came in and pitched two innings in relief and yielded five runs on four hits and one walk while striking out four.
Trevor Day led the hitting attack in the game for Pilot Grove with a single, double and three RBIs. Kendall Kraus finished the game 1-for-3 with a three-run home run and three RBIs while Alex Cooper, Regan Meisenheimer and Darrin Kammerich added one single each.
For Prairie Home, Ben Stock went 3-for-3 with three singles while Huth added a home run and one RBI and Sam Distler and Kody Utterback each with one single.
Prairie Home coach Jesse Oswald said for being off the field for so long due to the weather, he wasn’t too sure what to expect.
“I thought that we played good defensive ball for about 80 percent of the game,” Oswald said. “I thought there was a couple of mental mistakes made but we did a pretty good job of playing solid defense. Our pitchers have to get used to throw first-pitch strikes and not walking anybody at the bottom of the order, but again for the first game we didn’t do too bad. It took us about three innings for our bats to wake up. We made it easy on them for the first-three innings and just got ourselves out. Once we started putting the ball in play we had good things happen. We can take this game and learn from it and work on some of the small things to prepare us for the rest of the season.