The Palmyra baseball team's quest for a sixth straight district title was denied with a 3-0 loss to Clark County on Wednesday.

The Palmyra baseball team sought its sixth consecutive district championship Wednesday night.

Clark County's small ball served as a stone wall.

The Indians manufactured runs in each of the final three innings and rode a complete game by Chandler Bevans to a 3-0 win over the Panthers in the Class 3 District 8 title game in Macon.

“If you had to draw up a perfect game plan to beat us, that's what it would be,” Palmyra coach Mark Loman said.

Jacob Kroeger started for No. 2 seed Palmyra (15-7) and held fourth-seeded Clark County (10-13) without a hit through five innings. 

But the underdog Indians scratched for two walks, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Logan Gutting in the top of the fifth to produce the first run of the game. 

Grant Plenge led off the sixth with the Indians' initial hit. Following a sacrifice bunt, Caleb Lapsley stroked a two-out RBI single to right to make it 2-0.

Clark County took advantage of a walk, sacrifice bunt and two Palmyra errors in the seventh for the last tally.

“That's just the way we play,” Clark County coach Jerry Jerome said of his Indians, who managed just two hits. “We have kids who can bunt and run. Every time we got people on base, we started scoring. We put the ball in motion and it worked out tonight.”

Peyton Plunkett and Gabe Goodwin provided singles for Palmyra in the bottom of the seventh to bring the tying run to the plate with two outs.

Bevans induced a flyout to seal the deal. 

The senior pitched a five-hitter on 80 pitches while striking out a pair and issuing zero free passes. 

“Bevans was throwing strikes and moving it around,” Loman said. “He had a couple different pitches he was putting in there and keeping us off balance.” 

The Panthers totaled six hits in the loss, but they likely will most remember potential chances that were taken away.

Palmyra's Kaden Malone hit a sharp liner to center in the fifth, but Clark County outfielder Zeb Riney made a diving catch for the second out of a 1-2-3 frame by Bevans. 

Kroeger, the Panthers cleanup hitter, blistered a low line drive down the first-base line with two outs in the sixth. Tanner Ellam stopped the ball in its tracks, gathered himself and beat Kroeger to first to end the inning.

“We hit a lot of balls hard, but they made plays,” Loman said. “That happens in baseball. They were a little bit better today in respect to execution.”

Kroeger matched zeroes with Bevans through four innings, at one point shutting down 11 straight Indians. The Palmyra southpaw recorded six strikeouts while allowing three runs (two earned) over six-plus innings.

Peyton Plunkett entered in relief with a runner on first and nobody out in the seventh and finished the frame. 

“Our pitchers did a great job,” Loman said. “Their base hits were finding holes, and our line drives weren't. They did a good job moving runners.”

Clark County knocked off top-seeded Highland 7-2 on Tuesday night to reach the championship.

With Wednesday's win, the Indians secured their first district title in program history. 

“This was a long time coming,” Jerome said. “We've been knocking on the door. We didn't have the season we wanted, but through this whole thing I just kept saying, 'Let's make sure we're playing our best baseball late.' We played really well last night and even better today.” 

Palmyra defeated Macon 3-2 in a semifinal matchup earlier Wednesday that finished about 24 hours after it began.

The Panthers led Macon 2-1 in the top of the fifth inning Tuesday in Palmyra when storms forced the remainder of the contest to be pushed back a day.

The game resumed Wednesday afternoon in Macon.

Plunkett earned the save for Palmyra by tossing the 2 2/3 innings of relief. He secured the win for Hayden Hoerr, who went 5 1/3 innings while allowing one earned run on five hits. 

Kroeger delivered a two-RBI double to give Palmyra a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first.

Nolan Wosman grounded into a fielder's choice in the fifth to make it 3-1.

The Tigers scored a run in the top of the seventh, but Plunkett shut the door with a groundout to send the Panthers to the title game.