by David Tesitor
WALSENBURG — The John Mall Panther baseball team swept the South Park Burros in a double-header last Saturday.
The Panthers started out slow in the first game but came alive in the fifth with three runs to tie the score 4-4. South Park regained the lead with two in the bottom of the inning. It was the hot bat of MichaelRyan Griego however which led the Panther offense, going five of five, all singles. Jacob Wiggins had three singles.
Other Panthers with hot bats included John Burch going two of five with a single and a double. Evan Crockett had a single while Zac Harriman hit two singles. Justin Eccher had two doubles and a single in the seventh inning to drive Griego home with the winning run.
On the mound for the Panthers was Michael Maldonado who pitched seven innings, including six strikeouts. The Panthers won 9 to 8.
In the second game, the Panthers played a more aggressive game, attacking the plate and exploding for eleven runs off fourteen hits and shutting out the Burros. The ten-point mercy rule applied in the fifth inning as the Panthers’ strong defense and solid pitching from John Burch shut down South Park. This was Burch’s second complete game and first shutout of the season. Burch only gave up three hits in his outing. Panthers prevailed 11 to 0.
The victory gave the Panthers a 2-0 record in league play. They also won 17-2 at Center Tuesday.
The Panthers will be in Rye tomorrow to face the defending state champions. The Thunderbolts have an 11-1 record and are fresh off a dismantling of the Cripple Creek Pioneers last weekend, 39-3 and 15-0. Both games were mercifully called after four innings.
Last Friday, the Junior Varsity was swept by the Las Animas Trojans 13-3 and 15-0.