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ONTARIO, OR â€” Coming off of their disappointing semi final loss on Friday it was interesting to see how the Snake River Panthers would respond in their third place game with St. Maries on Saturday afternoon.
Snake River wasted little time showing their intentions on the day as they jumped on St. Maries with a 4 run first inning en route to a convincing 10-2 rout to bring home the third place trophy.
"A third place trophy, I really don't know if we have brought home a trophy in baseball before," Snake River head coach James Carter said. "It wasn't what we were aiming for but the kids should be proud of this accomplishment. This was good for the kids and a great experience for all of them to talk about for the rest of their lives."
Adrian Castaneda opened the first inning with a sharp single and then stole second base on the next pitch. One batter later, Bret Parkinson lined an RBI single for the games first score and then took second base on the throw. With two outs in the inning, Nate Martin then stroked an RBI double into the left field gap, scoring moments later when Shane Parkinson traded places with him on second base with a solid base knock. Cash Cardona capped the inning with an RBI double of his own and the Panthers were off and rolling with the 4-0 lead.
"We did good today," Cardona said. "I felt that we played good all weekend. We were able to come together, get some hits and really pulled it together as a team today."
The biggest benefactor to the early run support was once again starting pitcher Shane Parkinson. Coming off of a complete game shutout in the opening round game on Thursday, Parkinson settled in for the long haul as he scattered just 6 hits by the Lumberjacks on Saturday while striking out 10 batters in the process. Those ten gave Parkinson 23 for the tournament along with the two victories.
"Shane was huge," Coach Carter said. "He had a tournament that he will look back on for the rest of his life and remember well. He was clutch today and the rest of the team played real tough behind him."
Indeed, the Panther defense was stellar, just as it had been all tournament long, with just one fielding error on the day.
In addition to the routine, Snake River also got huge fielding plays beginning with a highlight reel, diving catch at the back stop by catcher Cash Cardona.
"I really didn't see it until late and once I saw it I just took off for it and was able to make the catch," Cardona said of his web gem.
In the outfield Zane Stephenson also got into the act with a diving catch in the third inning which took away a sure fire base hit by the Lumberjacks and in the sixth inning, first baseman Cole Rushton made a very difficult catch up against the first base dugout look routine as he snared the foul ball for the final out of the frame.
"It feels really, really, really great to get a win in my final game as a senior," Center-fielder Travis Robertson said.
Snake River put the finishing touches on the ball game with three runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth to eliminate any doubts as to whom the victor was going to be.
"Our guys just came out and set the tone right from the start by hitting the ball hard," Coach Carter said. "I'm just real happy for the guys."
SNAKE RIVER 10, ST. MARIES 2
St. Maries 000 020 0 - 2 6 2
Snake River 400 033 x - 10 15 1
St. Maries - Ashton Stephenson 2-4 SB, Ty Trascott 1-3 2B, Dillon Michael 1-3 SB, Dylan Wilson 1-2; pitching - Ryan Sullivan (L) 5IP 7R 12H 4K 1BB 1HP, Ashton Stephenson 1IP 3R 3H 0K 0BB.
Snake River - Adrian Castaneda 2-4 2SB, Bret Parkinson 3-4 3R, Nate Martin 2-4 2B 2R, Shane Parkinson 3-3 2B 2RBI 2R, Cash Cardona 2-4 2B; pitching - Shane Parkinson (W) 7IP 2R 6H 10K 7BB 1HP.