Panthers Headed to State

Image courtesy of the Putnam County Record
The Putnam County Panthers varsity baseball team is on its way to the IHSA state tournament. The Panthers beat the River Ridge Wildcats on May 27, 6-4.

The first inning saw both teams scoring with the Panthers knocking out four consecutive singles by Cody Ballerini, Xavier Warren, Jack Egan and Justin Pettit. Warren and Egan earned an RBI each. This led to a 2-1 Panther lead at the bottom of the first.

After Ballerini retired the Wildcats in order in the top of the second, the Panthers again let their bats do the talking with eight batters coming to the plate in the inning. With Ballerini and Warren hitting singles and Harold Fay and Jake Kasperski getting hit by pitches, the Panthers scored three more runs. The Wildcats made two errors in the second inning, three errors in the contest. Egan had an RBI, and Pettit had two in the inning.

The Panthers' defense then went south in the top of the third inning, giving up three unearned runs. Panther head coach Dave Garcia brought Fay in to relieve Ballerini with two outs in the inning. Fay threw out a batter at third base to stop the Wildcat rally.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, designated hitter Austin Pletsch hit a solo home run to add an insurance run, giving the Panthers a 6-4 lead.

The winning pitcher in the game was the Panthers' Fay, who had two strikeouts, two walks and gave up no hits or runs in his relief appearance.

The Panthers will now play against Sidell/Jamaica Co-op on May 31 at 10 a.m. at Dozer Stadium, formerly O'Brien Field in Peoria. Garcia said the Panthers have a lot to do to get ready for the game.

"We have a long week of scouting, research and trying to get reports on them," he said.

Good luck, Panthers!!

Source: Putnam County Record