Mother Nature would once again have an impact on the Purple Panthers baseball team as Litchfield would be scheduled to play the Pleasant Plains Cardinals on Friday, May 28 at Lincoln Land Community College. Due to wet conditions the contest would be moved to the Cardinals home field. Plains would take advantage of the home field and knock off the Panthers 8-5.
Plains would have success in every inning but one as they would put a run on the board in all innings but the third inning. Plains would build an early 2-0 lead as they would add a run in the first and the second innings.
In the only inning the Cardinals would not score, the Panthers would put two runs on the board tying the contest. With one out in the top of the third inning Jacob Frerichs would get things started as he singled to center field. Frerichs would move to second base on the next at-bat when Jacob Budd grounded out to the shortstop.
After a walk for Bryce Hires, Blaine Stewart would single in the first run in the game for Litchfield, as Frerichs would touch the plate. Jace Stewart would not let his brother outdo him this time as he would single in the Panthers’ second run of the contest, scoring Bryce Hires from second base.
In the bottom of the fourth inning the Cardinals would break the 2-2 contest as they put their third run on the board.
Litchfield would once again tie the contest in the top of the fifth inning as Drew Hartzell would assist in the putting the third run on the board as he would single in Cam Frerichs. Hartzell’s RBI would tie the contest once again this time at three runs.
After a four-inning outing for starting pitcher Jacob Frerichs, Bryce Hires would replace him on the mound in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Frerichs would leave the mound trailing 3-2 but would put together an impressive start. He would allow three runs, two earned, off of two hits and one walk. Frerichs would shut the Cardinals down for the most part as he would collect 10 strikeouts in the four-inning outing.
The Cardinals would take advantage of the pitching change as they would add five runs in Hires’ two innings of action, building an 8-3 lead after six innings.
In their last at-bat the Panthers would try to climb back into the contest. Bryce Hires would reach first base after being hit by a pitch, giving Litchfield a runner on the base paths with only one out.
Blaine Stewart would move Hires over to second base with his second hit of the contest. Hires would score on the next at-bat when Jace Stewart grounded out to shortstop, moving his brother Blaine to third base and scoring Hires to narrow the Plains’ lead to 8-4.
With two outs, Drew Hartzell would once again come up clutch for the Panthers as he singled in Blaine Stewart for Litchfield’s fifth run of the contest.
The two out rally would end during the next at-bat as Plains would close out the contest. The loss would drop Litchfield to 2-9 overall while the Pleasant Plains squad would move to 14-14 overall.
Litchfield will start the postseason on the road as they take on Auburn at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 2, with the winner moving on to face North Mac on Friday, June 4, in the regional semifinal.
May 28 at Pleasant Plains
Litchfield 002 010 2 5 8 2
Pl. Plains 210 132 x 9 4 2
Litchfield IP R ER H K BB
Frerichs 4 4 3 2 10 1
B. Hires 2 5 3 2 1 3
*Frerichs 5 HBP, Hires 3 HBP
Plains IP R ER H K BB
Green 2.2 2 2 4 3 2
Greer 1.2 1 0 2 0 2
Hamerlinck 1.2 0 0 0 2 0
Butcher 1.0 2 2 2 0 0
*Butcher 1 HBP
Multiple Hits: Litchfield - Blaine Stewart 2-2; Pleasant Plains - Mason Williams 2-4, Brady Marshall 2-4. 2B: Litchfield - Jacob Budd 1. Pleasant Plains - Mason Williams 1. Runs: Litchfield - Bryce Hires 3, Jacob Frerichs 1, Blaine Stewart 1. RBI: Litchfield - Jace Stewart 2, Blaine Stewart 1, Drew Hartzell 1.
Records: Litchfield (2-9); Pleasant Plains (14-14).