Brad Cheek put the Monroe City baseball team in complete control with one swing Monday during an 18-8 win at South Shelby.

Brad Cheek put the Monroe City baseball team in complete control with one swing Monday during an 18-8 win at Clarence Cannon Conference rival South Shelby. 

Cheek lined a grand slam to left field in the top of the second inning to cap a seven-run rally for the Panthers.

The game-changing moment came four batters after Dawson Shively hit a two-run homer to center.

“We were seeing the ball really well, staying patient and hitting our pitch,” Monroe City coach Derek Vanlandingham said. “We had several key hits that we were lacking in the first half of the season.” 

Shively and Josh Crook added RBIs in the third to grow Monroe City's lead to 9-1.

The Panthers manufactured three more runs in the fourth with an RBI groundout and a pair of bases-loaded walks. 

Jarrad Verdier started on the mound for Monroe City and pitched 3 1/3 innings while striking out eight and allowing three runs (two earned).

Hallsville showed signs of life in the bottom of the fourth when it posted six runs — five of which came with two outs.

But Monroe City drew six walks in the fifth to help tack four more runs on the board. 

Konnor Bridgewater provided two innings of scoreless relief for Monroe City. He struck out five of the 10 batters he faced.

The Panthers scored their final two runs in the top of the seventh via a bases-loaded hit by pitch and walk. 

Gatlin Bichsel pitched the bottom of the final frame to close out the win. 

Shively finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs, two runs and three walks in the victory. Crook went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, while Verdier and Cheek each posted two hits a piece.

Brady Jones, Monroe City's No. 9 hitter, scored each of the four times he reached base.

The Panthers, who totaled 13 hits to South Shelby's 11, benefited from 17 bases on balls in the victory.

The only blemishes for Monroe City were three errors that contributed to five unearned runs.

The Panthers improved to 2-4 on the season.

“We had too many errors, but give credit to South Shelby because they could have given up, but they kept at it and turned a five-inning ballgame into a whole seven-inning ballgame,” Vanlandingham said.