CHATHAM–The Panthers boys baseball team had to wait an extra 45 minutes to get their Patroon Conference season started Monday, as the visiting Greenville bus got lost on the way to Chatham, but once the game started the home team rode the pitching of Cody Hall, some strong defense and some timely offense to top the Spartans 6-0.
The early innings were a pitching duel as Hall allowed two hits while striking out four through the first three innings and his Greenville counterpart scattered two hits in the first two innings, But in the bottom of the third the Panthers broke through for the first run of the game. Following a pair of strikeouts to start the inning Steve Munson reached base after he was hit by a pitch and quickly moved to second on a passed ball. Hall then drew a walk before Nick Shaw drove in Munson with an RBI single.
The fourth was another quick inning for each team, but the fifth brought more drama. An error to begin the inning gave Greenville a runner on first and an attempted pick off moved him to second. A sac bunt moved the tying run to third with just two outs. Then, on the most crucial play of the game, a Greenville batter missed a sign, and as the runner on third raced towards home on an expected suicide squeeze the batter instead took a late swing, missing the ball and leaving the runner to be tagged out by Chatham catcher Kody Skype. Greenville put another runner on base after a dropped third strike and a stolen base put him in scoring position. A hard hit ball to shortstop made for a tough play, but a great scoop at first by Shaw earned the third out and preserved the one-run lead.
The defensive momentum in the top of the inning carried over to the bottom half as the Panthers poured on four more runs. Skype drew a leadoff walk and followed that up with a stolen base. Munson then drove him in with a single and Hall came up and reached on a single of his own. Both runners moved into scoring position on an error before Shaw drove in two more runs with a double. Dylan Cox then plated Shaw with a sacrifice fly. In the sixth Caleb Gregg was hit by a pitch and stole second before coming home on a groundout by pinch hitter Garrett Jornov to provide the Panthers with their final run.
Hall pitched a gem, going the distance, scattering four hits while walking, hitting none and striking out six. Hall helped himself at the plate going two-for-two with a pair of singles, a walk and a run scored. Shaw drove in three runs and scored one of his own on the day, while picking up a single and a double. Munson had a single, was hit by a pitch, scored twice and drove in one, while Cox had a single, a stolen base and an RBI. Gregg and Skype each added a stolen base and a run, Jornov drove in a run and Flynn O’Connell added a single.
With the victory Chatham evened its overall record at 2-2, while moving to 1-0 in the Patroon Conference.