Update for August 28, 2014

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Sports

 

Clemens slips by Panthers, 3-2, twice

By Heath Clary
Anvil Herald Correspondent

The Medina Valley baseball team played in its first regional semifinal series since 2007 last week. They squared off against a familiar foe, as the Panthers have scrimmaged Schertz Clemens to kick off the season for nearly a decade.

When both team’s coaches agreed on a three-game series, the Panthers were happy because of their plethora of talented pitchers. Sadly, Clemens needed only two stellar performances by its starting pitchers to defeat the Panthers in two games, both 3-2 nailbiters played at St. Mary’s beautiful Dickson Stadium.

The Panthers were not at all ready to see their season come to an end, but they couldn’t overcome the outstanding fielding and opportunistic hitting of the Buffaloes, who have made it to the third round of the playoffs three years in a row.

Four errors doomed the Panthers in Game 1. Jonathan Groff pitched a splendid game, striking out seven, but he couldn’t pitch around a hectic fifth inning.

After a leadoff infield single and then a passed ball, Groff struck out the next batter on a curveball. It was below the strike zone, but it clearly looked like catcher Nathan Stein caught the ball before it hit the ground. Regardless, the Clemens batter sprinted to first. Stein did not throw to first because he felt he had caught the ball, but the umpire thought differently and the runner reached first safely.

The next batter laid down a bunt, and Stein tried to nab the lead runner at third. The ball skipped under the glove of Quinn Petty, loading the bases with nobody out. The next batter ripped a single to center to score two. Groff somehow managed to get out of the inning without further damage, but the Panthers still trailed, 3-1.

Carlton Kempf drove home Kyle Moos with an RBI single in the sixth, but that was all they could score. The Panthers went down in order in the seventh, giving Clemens a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-three series.

Cody Moos came out firing for the Panthers in Game 2 on Friday, throwing with his highest velocity all season.

Clemens manufactured a run in the top of the first inning. Their leadoff hitter started with a walk, and then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. After a flyout to center, Moos walked the next batter and hit another.

With two outs it looked like Moos would be able to escape any damage, but his next pitch squirted under Stein’s glove, and Clemens drew first blood.

The Panthers evened the score in the third inning when Groff hit an RBI double to drive in Stein. They took the lead in the fifth when Stein scored on a Corey Modgling single.

It looked like more damage would be done in the same inning when Groff hit a line drive to left center. The Clemens left fielder made a spectacular diving catch, and the rally was thwarted when he threw to second to double off Modgling, who was on his way to third.

Moos cruised through the next few innings but hit an obstacle in the sixth. He struck out the first two batters in the inning, and it looked like he was well on his way to putting up another zero on the scoreboard.

He struck out the next batter, but the ball got past Stein and he reached base. The next batter hit a single to center, and then another dropped third strike loaded the bases with two outs. The next batter hit one of Moos’ few mistakes, a fastball down the middle, into left field for a two-run single.

The Panthers put together a serious threat in the sixth when Kempf and Bradley Griggs hit consecutive one-out singles. Cody Moos followed with a pop fly to the left side of the infield. The Clemens third baseman caught the ball, and another rally died when he threw to second to double off Kempf, who was diving back to second.

After Moos tossed a scoreless top of the seventh, the Panthers could not tie the score in the bottom half. Stein recorded his fourth hit of the game, but he could not advance any farther. When Groff’s pop-up landed in the catcher’s mitt, Game 2 and the MV season was over.

Moos’ final stat line was quite impressive. He scattered five hits over seven innings, struck out nine, and did not allow an earned run. Despite the gutsy performance, he was saddled with his second loss of the season, and first defeat of the postseason.

The Panthers finished the season with a 29-8-1 record, a District 29-4A title, and three series victories in the postseason. Also, they swept one of the most successful programs in the country when they beat Corpus Christi Calallen in two straight games with relative ease.

Their goal at the beginning of the season was to win state. They came up short, but it was still a very successful season.

 

 

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