Pekin goes into extras against Wapello, comes up shy by run

After giving up some runs and walks early, Torell Washinton settled into a groove and set down eight batters over the course of 6 1/3 innings of work. He also helped his own cause by driving in two runs, but the Panthers came up shy in an 11 inning 5-6 game against Wapello.

The Pekin Panthers headed into their second game of the season with a gritty win to open their season the night prior. They hosted Wapello on May 22 and while an initial comeback forced the game into extra innings, they came up just shy in the end, losing 5-6.

    Pekin got off to a rough start as Wapello put up four quick runs in the opening two innings. After the damage had been done, Pekin starting pitcher Torell Washington began to settle into a groove. He lasted until midway through the sixth inning, giving up the four runs on five hits and fanning eight batters.

    He began to get some run support in the bottom of the fifth inning, which began with him hitting a deep ball to the outfield which got him to second base and drove in two Pekin runners. He then went on to score to slice the four-run deficit down to a single run. Wapello was stagnant after their early offensive burst, held scoreless from the third to the seventh inning, which they scored one run.

    “These guys never quit,” Pekin coach Pie Reighard said. “We talked about the fact we need to start playing with that attitude sooner in the game. It was the same way last year, we started playing our game in the fourth and fifth innings.”

    Pekin was able to get their first two batters on base to start their half of the inning and then Cody Hassinen hit a deep ball for a two RBI single. That hit tied the game at five and forced the game into extra innings. Pekin and Wapello traded half innings of little to no offensive production, as the game went on without any scoring.

    Wapello finally broke through once again in the top of the 11th inning and left Pekin with three outs to get two runs to win and one run to keep the game going further. It started off looking like the Panthers would pull it off as Tanner Bainbridge reached base with a single and then Keaton Baayen did the same. A fly ball from Hassinen advanced Bainbridge to third base with only one out. Washington was intentionally walked, which loaded the bases and increased the potential of a walk off scenario.

    “I think our guys are starting to see enough pitches now,” Reighard said. “We’ll have some down nights, but this is an offensive team. I think we played very well against a team who has started several of their guys for four years and have nine or ten seniors on their roster.”

    Unfortunately for Pekin and their fans, they couldn’t get Bainbridge in from third and took the narrow loss to visiting Wapello.

    Panther leaders: Tanner Bainbridge – 4 hits, Tanner Bainbridge – 2 runs, Cody Hassinen/Torell Washington – 2 RBI, Keaton Baayen/Quinn Ledger – 1 SB, Torell Washington – 8 Ks

    The Panthers were looking to rebound with a matchup at Winfield – Mt Union on May 24 and a road game at Danville on May 25.