THOMAS — The sun came out and the Panthers shown brightly as they swept a double-dip from the visiting Sugar-Salem Diggers on Friday afternoon 18-11 and 4-3.
"We were able to hit the heck out of the ball in the first game and in the second game they threw a really good pitcher but I was proud of the way that our kids hit off of him and got some runs early," Snake River head coach James Carter said. "We had some timely hitting and all in all it was a great day."
In game one, the Panthers put their hitting shoes on, battering the Sugar-Salem pitching staff for 18 runs on 17 hits. The onslaught ensued on the first inning as the Panthers answered a 3 run Digger half of the frame with a 9 run home half. Braden Watt set the tone with a ringing triple to lead off the inning and Shane Parkinson capped the outburst with a home run over the right field fence.
"Shane Parkinson had another day after a great day yesterday he comes out and hits a homer and then pitches in both games today," coach Carter said.
The Panthers added another run in the bottom of the second inning as Candon Watt led off with a roped double and Cole Rushton added a double of his own for a 10-3 lead.
Sugar-Salem countered with 5 runs over the next two innings to pull to within 10-8 but Snake River was having none of that comeback kool-aid that the Diggers were brewing, answering back with 4 runs in the fourth, a run in the fifth and a trio of runs in the 6th to earn starting pitcher Keegan Keller the win.
"This was good for the kids. Sugar-Salem are a great ball club and this gives the kids confidence and hopefully it will carry over into our conference play," coach Carter said. "The kids did good today, I am proud of them."
In game two, the bats cooled off for both teams, nearly as quick as the temperature dropped once the sun began to settle in the west.
Snake River was able to draw first blood with a lone run in the bottom of the first when Cash Cardona earned a walk, advanced to third on a single by Candon Watt and then scampered home on a wild pitch.
Keegan Keller and Travis Robinson then each scored in the bottom of the second as Robinson executed a perfect hit and run to score Keller and then later scampered home on a wild pitch, giving the Panthers a 3-0 lead.
After a lone run by Sugar-Salem in the top of the third, Snake River anwsered back with a run in the bottom of the inning when Cody Dean roped a double and later trotted home on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Keller.
That was all of the scoring that Snake River needed as the pitching duo of Cody Dean and Shane Parkinson did a fine job on the bump.
Dean picked up the win after working 4 innings, allowing 3 runs but each of those were unearned as the Panther defense had some issues in the field behind him.
Shane Parkinson entered in the fifth and worked 5 scoreless innings, striking out 5 including the last out of the game with the tying run on third base.
"Shane was clutch today," coach Carter said. "He just flat did a great job. It does such a good job because he doesn't get rattled. A lot of guys when an error is made behind them may say oh no, here we go again but he stayed, hung in and did a good job."
Snake River (5-2) will open their conference slate on Wednesday when they travel to American Falls for a battle with the Beavers.
SNAKE RIVER 18, SUGAR-SALEM 11
Sugar-Salem 302 301 2 - 11 13 0
Snake River 910 413 x - 18 17 3
Snake River leading hitters: Bradon Watt 3-5 3B, Shane Parkinson 2-5 HR, Candon Watt 3-4 2B, Cody Dean 2-4, Jesse Vogler 2-4, Cole Rushton 2-3 2B; pitching Keegan Keller (W) 3 2/3 IP, 8R, 4ER, 7H, 2K, 2BB, 1HP; Shane Parkinson 2 1/3 IP, 3R, 3ER, 5H, 3K, 1BB
SNAKE RIVER 4, SUGAR-SALEM 3
Sugar-Salem 001 110 0 - 3 3 1
Snake River 121 000 x - 4 6 6
Snake River leading hitters: Candon Watt 2-3, Cody Dean 1-2 2B, Travis Robinson 2-3 2B; pitching Cody Dean (W) 4IP, 3R, 0ER, 2H, 4K, 5BB, 1HP; Shane Parkinson 3IP, 1R, 0ER, 1H, 5K, 1BB