On Friday, April 5, the Panthers took on the soon-to-be Southwest Prairie Conference Yorkville Foxes and faced a tough 1-0 loss in the 11th inning. Despite this defeat, the team’s pitchers had wonderful outings.

Senior Matt Sorrells started the game for the Panthers, striking out the first nine batters he faced.

“I was kind of feeling it when I was warming up, so I knew that I was gonna hit my spots,” Sorrells said. “I just let my arm take care of it and threw strikes to get me through.”

Yorkville’s starting pitcher Evan May did not let up, however, and his team supported him behind the mound for the first three innings, allowing only four runners. Their defense remained alert throughout the rest of the game, never allowing more than two runners on base.

“We were just trying to scratch one run across, obviously with one run we probably would’ve won the game,” Panthers head coach Joe Giarrante said. “We hit a lot of balls really hard, and that’s just baseball, there’s nothing we can really do about that.”

That was especially true for senior designated hitter Jason Crafton, who hit three deep balls only to be intercepted by Yorkville’s defense. Seniors Garry Maynard and Codey Quirin had better luck, on the other hand, as they reached first base in the third, fourth, sixth, and ninth innings.

Junior Tommy Picha took over for Sorrells in the sixth, and unfortunately couldn’t capitalize, despite his efforts to keep the Foxes from scoring.

“I felt pretty nervous because it’s pretty hard to follow up on what Matt [Sorrells] did, so hats off to him,” Picha said. “And then when I started throwing strikes, I just got in my rhythm and felt good about it.”

This game was just a sneak peek into what we’ll be in for next year, when Yorkville joins the SPC and become a part of conference play.

“When we’ve played them, we’ve mostly lost games out of errors, walks, and stuff like that, so it’s not like anything we can’t work on, and it’s not anything we haven’t seen,” Sorrells said.

Yorkville has always been a competitive team, and their addition to the SPC just means more work for the boys to put in during the season.

“[Yorkville’s] always going to compete, they always have, even in regionals,” Giarrante said of the Foxes joining the SPC next year. “They’re a tough out, as they proved today.”

A late single from Yorkville’s Josh Reifsteck in the 11th inning led to a single run by Luis Rodriguez to give the Foxes the lead, and an eventual win.

The Panthers’ next home game will take place today, April 12, against the Marmion Academy Cadets at Jackie’s Field at 4:30 p.m.\

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