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Panthers defeat Tigers in six

by David Tesitor
WALSENBURG — It was an unscheduled baseball game. The Antonito Tigers came to play ball and were soundly defeated by the Panthers’ powerful offense and the stellar pitching of John Burch who pitched the complete game.
Burch struck out his first two batters before the Tigers put a man on first. A balk advanced the runner, but he was left stranded as Burch struck out his next batter. The Panthers could not make anything happen in their first at bat going three and out.
Burch had two additional strikeouts in the second and a man was thrown out at first to retire the side. The Panthers got on the board in the second from an Evan Crockett sacrifice fly to give the Cats a 1-0 lead, a lead which would not be relinquished.
Burch again was perfect in the third retiring the next three batters. The bottom of the third saw the Panthers explode for eight runs. Brandon Atencio was the first to come in off a Burch RBI single. Jacob Wiggins then drove in two runs with a double. Three batters later, the Panthers had bases loaded when Atencio came to bat again and on a 3-1 count was walked, bringing in a run and giving the Panthers a 6-0 lead. Burch, who was as focused as on the mound, stepped up to the plate and on his third pitch hit a triple to right field, driving in three more runs before the side was retired.
The Tigers were still looking for their first hit of the game in the fourth and could not find relief from the hot arm of John Burch who threw two more ‘K’s.’ John Mall’s MichaelRyan Griego had a single RBI for the Panthers only score of the fourth inning and a 10-0 lead.
Hoping to end the game with the mercy rule, the Panthers gave up their first runs of the game on back-to-back singles. An error in the infield allowed the Tigers’ first run and the shutout opportunity for Burch who was beginning to show his fatigue. Burch closed out the inning with two more strikeouts, but not before two more runs crossed the plate, one off another error, still giving the Panthers a 10-3 lead.
Looking for a rally, John Burch hit an in-the- park homerun over the head of the first baseman into deep right field for the only score of the inning. This was his fifth run batted in of the game.
At the top of the sixth inning, Burch remained as the pitcher to retire the side leaving one runner stranded at second base.
It was the strong Panther offense which put the game away in the sixth beginning with a Michael Maldonado double. Griego hit a sacrifice fly which drove in the run. Wiggins followed with a single. With one out in the inning, Crockett advanced with a walk, then two stolen bases. He later crossed the plate giving the Panthers a 14-3 lead. Lorenzo Trujillo advanced to base on a single. Atencio’s triple drove in the final run of the game as Trujillo beat the throw to home by a step. At this point, with a 15-3 lead and one out, the game was called because of the mercy rule.