The Pioneer baseball team won its home opener with an 8-1 victory over Tri-County on Tuesday in Royal Center.

Caleb Sweet and Hunter Klepinger combined on a one-hitter for the Panthers (1-1), who bounced back from an opening loss to Rossville last week.

Sweet got the start and pitched four hitless innings. Klepinger closed it out with three innings of one-hit ball.

Eight of the nine Panthers in the starting lineup had at least one hit. Tyler Gaumer and Daniel Reyes had two hits apiece to lead the attack.

The game also marked the first win for Pioneer coach Josh Hardy, who was supposed to make his debut last year before the season was canceled. Hardy takes over for longtime coach Dick Farrer, who retired following the 2019 season.

“I thought that both of our pitchers threw really well. It was a good outing, especially for Sweet’s first outing,” Hardy said.

Hardy teaches business and computer science at Pioneer. A 2012 Logansport grad, he went on to play football for four years at Lakeland University, a Division III school in Wisconsin. He was part of two conference championship teams as a player and later part of two as a coach.

“I take a lot of that same mentality I had coaching football in college and use that in baseball and I think it’s fairly effective with the guys now,” he said.

Hardy also has coaching experience with the Logansport Lookouts, a senior Babe Ruth travel baseball team.

He is looking for a successful first season with the Panthers.

“When we get everybody clicking on all cylinders I think we can be really good,” he said. “We have a lot of talent. It sucks that last year we didn’t have that season because these seniors now if they were juniors last year, I think we would have been pretty good last year too. There’s a lot of talent within all four of our groups from freshmen to seniors. But this senior group is definitely special. I think that we can definitely have a good year. “

Pioneer’s next game is at home against Clinton Central at 5 p.m. Thursday.

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