Palmyra surged to an 8-0 lead and staved off a late rally from visiting Mark Twain for a 9-5 win at Flower City Park on Monday.
It’s no secret the staple of the Palmyra baseball team is playing small ball that is fundamentally sound. Such was the case Monday night.
The Panthers scored four runs in the first two innings of play despite recording just one hit. Palmyra would tack on four more runs over the next three innings for an 8-0 lead and staved off a late rally from visiting Mark Twain for a 9-5 win at Flower City Park.
“It was nice to get out to the early lead,” Palmyra coach Mark Loman noted. “And it is always nice to be able to tack on runs each inning.”
Trailing 3-0 after the first inning of play, the Tigers looked to gain momentum in the second. Panthers southpaw hurler Jacob Kroeger issued a pair of free passes, but Mark Twain could not take advantage.
Both Tiger baserunners would be thrown out at second base, taking them out of the inning. The first out came when the runner hesitated on taking second on a pitch in the dirt. Panthers catcher Gabe Goodwin fired a strike to second for the out.
The second gaffe, and final out of the inning, came when a errant pick-off attempt sailed down the right field line. Palmyra right fielder Peyton Plunkett backed up the play and registered the assist to end the inning.
“When you make base running errors like that (early in the game), you just don’t know if that very moment it’s going to have an impact on the game or several innings later,” Mark Twain coach Ian Hatton said of the second-inning miscues. “Palmyra took advantage of it, and we have to get those things cleaned up to get the results we want moving forward.”
After a walk and a sacrifice bunt, Plunkett extended the Panthers lead to 5-0 in the third inning with an RBI single to centerfield. It was Plunkett’s second RBI hit of the game, and he would later add another single to finish 3-for-3 at the dish.
“He is a guy who has really quick hands and when he waits on a good pitch to hit and keeps his head down he can spray it to all field,” Loman said of his No. 6 hitter. “He had a really nice approach to the plate tonight.”
Caden Power gave the hosts a 7-0 lead with a two-run single in the fourth.
Jacob Kroeger tossed the first four innings for Palmyra and did not allow a base hit.
The Tigers first hit of the game came in the fifth inning when Daniel Deener laced a two-out single to right field.
Then the Tigers offense showed some life.
Parker Eddington led off the sixth inning for Mark Twain with a walk. A stolen base and a wild pitch later, Eddington scored the first run of the game for the Tigers on a single to center by Bradyn Hooley.
Two batters later Corey Kunkel lined a two-run double down the right field line to pull the Tigers (0-1) to within 8-3.
Cole Johnson later registered an RBI single for the fourth run of the inning.
The Tigers fifth run crossed the plate on a double-play ball.
Hatton was happy to see the fight in his team.
“We showed a lot of resolve, a lot of character,” the Tigers skipper said of the sixth-inning rally. “We were able to put some quality at-bats together, our kids battled there. That’s what you want to see out of your team, it’s just unfortunate we couldn’t get anything going early.”
Nolan Wosman registered the final four outs of the game on the mound for Palmyra to earn the save.
The Panthers (2-0) recorded eight hits in the win — all singles — while Mark Twain finished with five hits.
“There’s going to be games where we have five doubles mixed in with some other hits and others like tonight where we are going to have to manufacture runs,” Loman said. “But overall I was really pleased with the way our kids approahed each at-bat tonight.”
Palmyra hosts Elsberry on Tuesday, while Mark Twain plays host to Quincy Notre Dame.
Palmyra 9, Mark Twain 5
Mark Twain 000 005 0 -- 5 5 3
Palmyra 311 211 X -- 9 8 1
MARK TWAIN (0-1) — Bailey McMillen (L), Loren Carlisle (5) and Bradyn Hooley. 2B — Corey Kunkel. Top hitter: Kunkel, 1-1 with 2 RBI.
PALMYRA (2-0) — Jacob Kroeger (W), Austin Riney (5), Nolan Wosman (6, S) and Gabe Goodwin. Top hitters: Peyton Plunkett 3-for-3 with 2 RBIs; Kroeger 2-for-3, Caden Power 1-for-3 with 2 RBIs.