The Prairie Home Panthers could almost smell victory Friday night in the Class 1 District 11 Tournament at Pilot Grove.
In a No. 2 versus No. 3 matchup, the Panthers had the higher-seeded Tigers on the ropes while leading for pretty much the entire game. But after taking a 6-2 lead after 5 1/2, Prairie Home also left the door wide open for a potential big inning in the bottom half of the inning by the Tigers.
As it turned out, Pilot Grove took advantage by scoring six runs on five hits to beat Prairie Home 8-6.
In the earlier game, No. 1 Jamestown beat fourth-seeded Bunceton 12-0 in five innings.
Pilot Grove coach Neal Bailey said it took his team until the fifth inning to get the timely hit they needed after leaving a few on base earlier in the game. “After tying it up in the bottom-half of the fifth, we gave up four in the top of the sixth, but I’m proud of the guys for staying determined to get the come from behind win,” Bailey said.
Prairie Home coach Trever Huth said despite the loss, the Panthers played their best game of the year while closing out the season at 7-6.
“Creed Flood kept us in the game the while time on the mound and came up with a big hit when we needed it,” Huth said. “From there everyone else did what was asked of them. We played defense well and made plays while putting the ball in play with some timely hits and great situational hitting to score runs. It was a great team effort and great season.”
The Panthers definitely had the right game plan by jumping on Pilot Grove early with one run in the top-half of the first on a bunt single by Kassen Lock, which led to an overthrow to first.
Of course it didn’t take long for Pilot Grove to get the run back while pushing across one run in the bottom-half of the inning on a single up the middle by Bailey Quint and a throwing error again to first after a strikeout to tie the game at 1-all.
That’s how the game would remain until the fourth when Prairie Home tacked on another run on a  ground out by Ty Stidham to go up 2-1. Then, in the fifth, Pilot Grove tied the game again with one run on a RBI-single to center by Austin Kollmeyer.
The Tigers also looked to be in trouble in the sixth after Prairie Home exploded for four runs on four hits, with a RBI single to right center by Stidham, a two-RBI double to right by Creed Flood and a RBI-single to center by Mason Wells.
However, in the very same inning, Pilot Grove answered with a big inning of its own with six runs on five hits and two walks to go up 8-6. Kollmeyer’s two-RBI single up the middle put the Tigers up for good at 7-6. Then, to make it 8-6, Anderson Twenter hit another double to center.
The Panthers never got any closer but did have the tying run at the plate after Blane Petsel level off the seventh with a infield single to second.
Cole Meisenheimer picked up the win for Pilot Grove while Creed Flood took the loss for Prairie Home. Meisenheimer pitched 2 1/3 innings and gave up just one run on one hit and two walks while striking out four. Flood, meanwhile, pitched 5 2/3 innings and struck out 11 batters while giving up eight runs on six hits and five walks.
Pilot Grove also out-hit Prairie Home 7-3, with Donnavon Gerke going 2-for-4 with a single and a double. Kollmeyer had two singles and three RBIs while Quint added two singles and one RBI, Anderson Twenter one double and one RBI and Meisenheimer and Gavin Shepherd each with one RBI.
For Prairie Home, Mason Wells went 2-for-3 with two singles and one RBI. Creed Flood had a double and two RBIs while Blake Petsel added one double, Ty Stidham with one single and two RBIs and Blane Petsel with one single.
As for the Bunceton Dragons baseball team, they had a tall task against Jamestown and from the get go the Eagles proved why they were the No. 1 seed by exploding for six runs in the second inning without a hit to lead 6-0.
Of course the Eagles didn’t stop there. With only one hit in the first-two innings, Jamestown came back and plated four more runs in the third on two hits, two errors, two hit batters and one walk to extend the lead to 10-0. Meanwhile, in the fourth, the Eagles added two more runs on two hits, one walk and one error to make it 12-0.
Austin Flippin picked up the win on the mound for Jamestown while Rylee Knapheide took the loss for Bunceton. Flippin pitched the first-two innings and struck out four batters. Knapheide, meanwhile, pitched 2 1/3 innings and gave up 10 runs on five hits and five walks while striking out two batters.
Jamestown also out-hit Bunceton 8-2, with Garrett Wolfe going 2-for-2 with a double, triple and three RBIs.
Nick Perez added a single and a double while Austin Flippin had a double and three RBIs, Mack Sorrells and Brandon Thompson each with one single and two RBIs, Dalton Oerly with one single and one RBI and Cole Thiessen with one RBI.
For Bunceton, Dakota Rose and Jason Burnett each doubled.