By Amanda Perkins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
It wasn’t an ideal night for baseball in the Ozarks as blustery weather affected play, but Dora and Mtn. Grove put on a show for their fans nonetheless, battling to the final frame for the Panthers’ 8-7 win.
“That was an exciting one right there,” said Mtn. Grove head coach Derwin McGownd. “Tooth and nail, and with the weather the way it was, it was one of those games for the ages.”
The teams were tied 6-6 as they entered the seventh. Dora’s Austin White singled and stole a base, and Tyler Luna drove him home for the Falcons to take the one-run lead.
But the Panthers strung together four singles and topped it all off with a Hayden Newberry one-out double to win the contest.
“These guys just never quit,” said Coach McGownd. “I’ve seen it four years out of this senior class and these younger kids are trying to follow that lead. They don’t know how to lose, really. I even had confidence there at the bottom that they were going to step up and do the job they needed to do and they followed through and did it.”
Errors were a factor in the game, as Dora had three on the night.
“We knew it was going to be a battle, and it was a wild one,” said Dora head coach Rick Luna of the match-up. “We beat ourselves. I felt like we did enough, we scored enough runs, pitchers did their job, but we just didn’t make the plays. We’ve got to do better mentally and win those close ones.”
Both teams pitched to contact well.
“We depleted our pitching staff with games on Wednesday and Thursday and then tonight too, so we were kind of down with our pitching,” said Coach McGownd. “But the kids who threw stepped up and did a good job. Bailey (Linton) had pitched for us a little bit last year and did a great job with it. Joseph (Collins) is new to our staff and he has some things he’s got to work on, but he did a great job coming in and finishing some things out for us.”
Hayden Newberry had a huge game for the Panthers, going 4-4 and reaching base an extra time (hit by pitch), and had a home run.
The Panthers are now 2-0 in the SCA and 5-1 overall and face Salem Monday. Dora drops to 7-3 and will next take on Bakersfield.