Panthers split with Cougars
THOMAS — On an otherwise odd evening on the diamond, the Snake River Panthers averted a home sweep at the hands of the Upper Valley Cougars as they rallied for five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning in game two for a 7-6 walk off victory.
"We could have probably got two wins today, we were hitting the ball well enough in the first game to do that," Snake River head coach Tom Strickland said. "We just didn't play as good on the defensive side that we usually do. I don't know what it was but for whatever reason in both games we just sort of lost our focus a bit. Fortunately, we woke up at the end of the second game."
The Panthers were put into a bit of a slumber by the Cougars in game one as the visitors from St. Anthony plated two runs in the sixth inning and then three more in the seventh for the come from behind 12-10 victory.
Snake River rebounded with a quick run in the bottom of the first inning in game two as Cash Cardona came sprinting home courtesy of an RBI ground out by Nate Martin.
Upper Valley tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the third but Snake River bounced back with a run in the bottom of the inning as Cardona once again scored on a ground out, this time by Shane Parkinson.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the fifth proved to be somewhat odd as the Cougars took advantage of a Snake River error, a hit batsman and a confused strike count to plate a pair of runs for a 3-2 lead.
The Cougars stretched that lead out to 6-2 with a run in the sixth and two more runs in the seventh, all of which were unearned as the normally solid Panther defense developed a few leaks at the seams leading to the pivotal home half of the seventh.
With one out in the frame, Shane Parkinson was able to reach base courtesy of an error by the Cougar third baseman. Kaden Schmitt followed with a bounding ball to second base that bounced over the glove to put runners at first and third.
Josh Pederson capitalized on the situation with a parachute flare to right field to score Parkinson and after a Konner Gilstrap single to left the bases were full of Panthers with just one out in the inning.
Jake Goodwin then strode to the plate and the smooth swinging lefty wasted little time as he drove the first pitch he saw over the diving first baseman for a 2RBI single to make the score 6-5 Cougars.
After a pitching change by the Cougars the visitors got an out and then a walk to Cardona which loaded the bases with two outs for Bret Parkinson.
Moments later, Parkinson lined a shot into right field which went off the glove of a diving right fielder leading to a pair of runners crossing the plate while the bench mobbed Parkinson after the game winner.
"It's just the way it goes sometimes," Coach Strickland said. "We were fortunate to come through at the end."
Snake River (12-10) will travel to Burley on Friday for a double header beginning at 5 P.M.