Pilot Grove senior Brady Rentel knew he didn’t want to end his final home game of the regular season with a loss Monday night against state-ranked Northwest of Hughesville.
Although the Mustangs came in heavily favored, as they were recently ranked No. 4 in the state in Class 1, Rentel sent Northwest back home with its fifth loss of the season by striking out a season-high 19 batters en route to a 1-0 victory.
Pilot Grove coach Dillon Yung said these kids battled all night and were finally able to break through with a big RBI-single from Donnavan Gerke. “I am extremely proud of every single one of these kids tonight,” Yung said. “Brady Rentel got the win on the mound by throwing a complete game shutout with 19 strikeouts. He was very dominate on the mound and by far pitched his best game of the season on senior night. He seemed to have everything working for him on the mound and it really showed with his performance. This was a very good win for us to carry momentum into our final regular season  game against Fayette and into districts next week.”
As for Rentel, the senior hurler went the distance and gave up just four hits and one walk while striking out 19 of 26 batters. He also retired the side in four of the seven innings.
As for Northwest, they had plenty of opportunities in the game while putting the lead off hitter on in the second after a double to left. Meanwhile, in the fourth, the Mustangs again put the lead off hitter on after a single up the middle only to have Rentel come back and strikeout the next-three batters to end the inning.
Pilot Grove also had several chances to score while putting two on in the bottom-half of the fourth after a Northwest error on a ground out and a walk. However after getting a pop out on a bunt by Cole Meisenheimer, Northwest’s pitcher struck out the next batter for out No. 2. Rentel was then called out on a throw from the catcher to first on a pick off to end the inning.
Needless to say, the Tigers made it count in the fifth after when Steven Bell led off with a double to center and later scored on a RBI-single to right by Donnavan Gerke to make it 1-0.
That turned out to be the winning run as Northwest wasted a one-out single in the sixth and a single and a walk in the seventh to end the game.
Connor Tichenor took the loss on the mound for Northwest by giving up just one run on two hits and one walk while striking out eight batters.
Northwest also out-hit Pilot Grove 4-2, with Alex Breshears going 1-for-3 with one double. Baron Austin, Ryan Chamberlain and Braiden McEachern each had one single.
For Pilot Grove, Steven Bell doubled while Donnavan Gerke singled and drove in one run for the only hits in the game for the Tigers.