PHOTO: Panther outfielder Sam Boyd looks to make a throw after scooping up a Central City hit June 27 in Monticello. (Photo by Pete Temple)
By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor
Two sets of figures say it all for the Monticello baseball team last week: a 5-0 record, outscoring opponents 46-4.
“We have a few things to continue to work on, but it is tough to nit-pick with this team,” Monticello coach Josh Soper said. “They continue to get better and are having an outstanding season.”
Four of the wins were within the Tri-Rivers Conference, as the Panthers (13-3, 21-5) swept both Central City and North-Linn. They also controlled a non-conference game against Lisbon.
A five-run sixth inning allowed the Panthers to pull away from Lisbon in a June 25 non-conference game at Dailey Field in Monticello, as the hosts went on to win 7-2.
It was a big win, especially considering Lisbon came to town as the ninth-ranked team in Class 1A.
“We played a very solid all-around game,” Soper said. “Michael Reuter provided some clutch hits, and we broke through in the sixth inning.
“Mason Newhard did a good job pitching us out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the fifth against their 3-4 hitters, and that really helped swing the momentum our way.”
The five-run inning included a two-run double by Reuter, RBI singles by Derek Manternach and Sam Boyd, and Matt Manternach scoring on a fielder’s choice.
Reuter finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Boyd went 2-for-4 and scored two runs. Newhard, pitching in relief of starter Zach Monk, worked 2 2/3 innings and allowed no runs on two hits.
Monticello was in control in both ends of a conference doubleheader against Central City June 27, winning 13-2 and 10-0, each in five innings. Those games were also played in Monticello.
In the first game, the Panthers scored five runs in the first inning and five in the third. Overall they collected 13 hits, led by Tanner Felton, who was 3-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs. Matt Manternach was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.
Reuter pitched a four-hitter over five innings, striking out six.
In the second game, the Panthers jumped out on top again, scoring nine runs over the first three innings. Spencer Williams fired a four-hit shutout, striking out four and walking just one.
Reuter had a big game at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, three RBIs and four runs scored. Felton and Newhard had two hits apiece.
“We came out and really hit the ball hard in this doubleheader,” Soper said. “Reuter and Williams both pitched well, showing the quality of depth we have in our pitching staff.
“We had offensive contributions up and down the lineup, which is what we will need to make another run through districts. Mason Newhard has really been swinging the bat well over the last week or so, which has helped drive in some runs.”
Monticello closed the successful week with a pair of Friday, June 28 games at North-Linn. These were makeup games that were postponed from June 24.
The Panthers won both by identical scores of 8-0, the second game being shortened to five innings because of rain.
Strong pitching was key to both wins. Matt Holmes fired a five-hitter with six strikeouts in the first game, and was backed by an offense that collected 17 hits.
“Matt Holmes pitched another great game,” Soper said. “We wore down some last week, having to pitch on short rest, and we were able to give him eight days off because of rainouts. It showed, and he was in command the whole game.
“Our defense made several nice plays to take hits away from North-Linn. Matt Manternach, Michael Reuter, Spencer Williams and Tanner Felton all made some spectacular plays in the field.”
Boyd, Felton and Williams all went 3-for-4 in the game; Williams drove in three runs. Getting two hits each were Monk, Reuter and Holmes.
Newhard pitched a three-hit shutout in the nightcap, fanning five. Offensively, the Panthers broke away with a seven-run fourth inning. Derek Manternach started the inning with a walk, and finished the rally with an RBI single.
“Mason pitched another solid game, and our defense played mistake-free baseball.”