In an epic battle between two CCAA teams Thursday night in Bunceton, the Prairie Home Panthers baseball team did just enough to hand the Dragons their first loss of the season with a 4-3 victory.
The Panthers, improving to 5-4 overall and 4-0 in the CCAA conference, also matched Bunceton with eight hits but struggled on the defensive side while committing two errors. The Dragons, dropping to 5-1 on the season and 2-1 in the CCAA, had three errors in the game.
“We played an all around good baseball game tonight,” said Prairie Home coach Trever Huth. Bunceton is a good hitting team and Ty Stidham did a heck of a job holding them tonight. He was in the zone all night and created soft contact all throughout the game. The defense really picked him up when we needed it and made the plays we had to make to compete throughout the game. I would like to see us put the ball on the ground more but other than that another good win against a good team.”
The Dragons definitely had Prairie Home back on its heels early on in the ballgame after senior Dylan Flatt homered over the left field wall to make it 1-0 after two innings.
However in the top half of the third, the Panthers came back and took the lead for good by exploding for four runs on four straight hits to make it 4-1.
Blake Petsel led off the inning with an infield single to short. Blane Petsel then singled on a hard ground ball to short, followed by an error on the third baseman on the ground ball by Clayton Pethan for a run. Mason Wells then hit a towering home run over the left field wall for a three run shot to extend the lead to 4-1.
The Panthers never trailed again, although Bunceton made it interesting in the middle and latter stages of the game with one in the fourth on a RBI-double to left by Hunter Shuffield and one again in the seventh on a solo home run to left by Jason Burnett to cut the lead back to one.
Bunceton coach Dustin Ray said Prairie Home showed up ready to go and gave his team the game he thought it would be.  
“Hats off to their coaching staff and TY Stidham for throwing a great ball game in tough pitching conditions,” Ray said. “We seemed off balance at the plate all evening long and were unable to produce runs like we have in our past several games.  We lost a game that we very much needed to win, one that could hurt us down the road, but it is definitely a loss that we needed.  We have three games a week from this point forward.  It will be interesting to see how we bounce back.”
Ty Stidham picked up the complete game victory for Prairie Home while Dillon Alpers took the loss for Bunceton. In seven innings, Stidham struck out five batters and gave up just three runs on eight hits and two walk. Alpers, meanwhile, pitched the first five innings and allowed four runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out four. Hunter Shuffield then came in and pitched two innings in relief and surrendered one hit while striking out one batter.
Wells had a single, home run and three RBIs to lead all hitters for Prairie Home. Blake Petsel also had two hits with two singles while Clayton Pethan added one single and one RBI and Blane Petsel, Ty Stidham and John Fontanna each with one single.
For Bunceton,  Dylan Flatt went 2-for-3 with a double, home run and one RBI. Dillon Alpers and Brayden Doyle each had one single and one double while Jason Burnett added a home run and one RBI and Hunter Shuffield with one double and one RBI.