REMINGTON — It was windy, but it was a beautiful night for baseball when the Pioneer Panthers took on conference rival North White for the championship of the Class A Tri-County Sectional.
But unfortunately for the Panthers, their season came to an end at the hands of the No. 7-ranked Vikings by a 5-1 score.
North White (24-6) repeated as the sectional champion and will play Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian (14-7) at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Caston Regional. Pioneer finishes 10-16.
Two early base running errors on the Panthers early in the game along with extra base hits for North White shattered the Panthers hopes of a sectional title.
Pioneer finished with two fielding errors and the first happened with the Vikings first batter. Caleb Hendress jumped on Tucker Waddups’ first pitch and grounded to second base but the ball was bobbled and Hendress reached on the error. That brought to the plate Drake Fleck who quickly collected a base hit allowing Hendress to get to third. North White pitcher Luke Diener was next and flew out to Jared Brumett in center field. Brumett gunned the ball in as quick as he could and the ball was cut off by Deven Smith who turned and fired to catcher Chad Clifford in time to drop the tag on Hendress who had tagged after the catch.
But just as it looked like the Panthers may escape without any damage being done, Cole Frybort hit the first of four triples for the Vikings to score Diener to make it 1-0.
When the Panthers came to the plate Carter Ulrich showed that the Panthers also had someone who could hit for extra bases by cracking a triple of his own. That brought up Levi Grandstaff who laid a bunt down the first-base line. The ball was quickly fielded by Diener and the tag was put on Grandstaff for the first out. Diener then turned to see Ulrich breaking for home. Ulrich was then retired in a rundown to end the Pioneer scoring threat. After one complete the score stood at 1-0.