The Palmyra baseball team got a stellar pitching performance from Seth Brown Friday night as the Panthers crushed Canton 11-1 in a game limited to five innings because of the mercy rule.
Palmyra took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second but blew the game open with a 7-run third inning during which the Panthers sent 11 batters to the plate.
Caleb Kizer led off the bottom of the third inning with a walk and promptly stole second. Kizer then scored on Holden Hudson’s single to put Palmyra up 2-0. Seth Brown followed Hudson with a single of his own to put runners on first and second, but a passed ball allowed both Hudson and Kevin Bross (Brown’s courtesy runner) to advance 90 feet to second and third with no outs. Brock Butler then walked to load the bases.
“They (Canton) kind of hurt themselves by putting us on base,” Loman said. “We took advantage of it. When that happens you have to take advantage of that and I thought our guys did a really good job of being selective and swinging at strikes.”
With the bases full and no outs, Layton Wilson strolled to the plate and singled, scoring Hudson, reloading the bases in the process. Josh Hultz then worked a walk which pushed another run across the plate (Bross).
Will Funkenbusch came to the plate and drove in two more runs (Butler and Wilson) with a single which also allowed Hultz to reach third.
When Trevor Meny came to the plate, the Panthers’ designated hitter dropped down a squeeze bunt that scored Hultz. During the play, Canton was unable to get Meny out and Funkenbusch came around to score as well, putting the Panthers up 7-0.
Meny then advanced to second on a ground out to first base by Cole Kizer for the first out. But, Meny was picked off second base for the second out.
Coming to the plate for the second time in the third, Caleb Kizer had a two-out single before Hudson hit a long drive to right field that Canton’s right fielder was able to track down while making a spectacular catch to end the inning.
Palmyra added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 10-0 lead.
Needing only three outs to end the game, Canton fought back and got an unearned run in the top of the fifth on a dropped fly ball. Because the Panthers lead was cut to 9 runs, Palmyra went back to the plate in the bottom of the 5th inning where the Panthers scored their 11th run of the game to end the game.
In all, eight different batters had hits in the game as the Panthers pounded out 12 total hits while drawing five walks in the game. In fact, of everyone who had a turn at the plate, only two batters failed to reach base.
Page 2 of 3 - “Hitting is contagious,” Loman said. “Everybody wants to get in on that. We started hitting the ball hard in the third inning and we kind of continued that throughout the game. Our guys got in there and swung the bat well. That is a good sign when you can bang 12 hits out in five innings.”
Palmyra had three players with multiple hits, Holden Hudson, Layton Wilson, and Will Funkenbusch. Hudson finished the day 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI while Wilson was 2-for-3. Funkenbusch turned in a perfect 2-for-2 day at the plate.
Brown, the Panthers’ starting pitcher, earned his first win of the season. Brown pitched all five innings, allowing just one unearned run on a dropped fly ball in the top of the fifth. Brown struck out eight while allowing just two hits and issuing one free pass.
“Seth is really a student of the game,” Loman said. “He is a ball player. If you ask him if he was a pitcher, he would say yes because he goes to all their workouts and he does everything. He just seems to always answer the bell. No matter where you put him, he is going to give you his best effort.”
The win for Brown came in his first start since facing Canton one year ago as a sophomore. Brown’s win against Canton last year was his only appearance on the mound last season.
“He knows he is going to see the mound again (this year),” Loman said. “I kidded with him after the game about him starting the same game last year. He did a nice job that game too, but then he didn’t get to see the mound again. ... But, more than likely he is going to see some more action this year because he can do some things that makes guys put the ball in play and he mixes up his pitches real well.”
The win improves Palmyra to 3-0 on the young season. Due to the weather, the Panthers’ trip to Centralia for the CCC Tournament tomorrow has been postponed. The games have been rescheduled for April 6. Loman said the team will take the weekend off and then prepare for “Illinois week” as the Panthers travel to Liberty on Monday and Quincy Notre Dame on Tuesday before closing out the week by hosting Western on Thursday.
“Weather pending of course,” Loman said. “(Liberty) beat us by one or two runs last year so it will be a challenge for us going over there. Next week is the big Illinois week. After Liberty we are at QND on Tuesday and then Thursday we play Western here at home. All of those games are going to be good games.”
Page 3 of 3 - PALMYRA 11, CANTON 1
Canton 000 01 - 1 2 2
Palmyra 017 21 - 11 12 3
Palmyra Individual Stats
Pitching - Seth Brown W 1-0 (5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K)
Batting: Caleb Kizer 1-2 (2 R, 2 BB, 2 SB), Hudson 2-4 (RBI, R), Brown 1-3 (RBI), Kevin Bross (2 R), Brock Butler 1-1 (3 R, 2 BB, 2B, RBI), Layton Wilson 2-3 (2 RBI, R), Josh Hultz 0-2 (R, BB, RBI), Will Funkenbush 2-2 (2 RBI, SB), Trevor Meny 1-2 (RBI), Cole Kizer 0-2, Easton Holstein 1-1 (RBI), Alex Bross 0-1
Record: Palmyra 3-0