L-R Catchers Logan Nelson of Fremont and Hunter Billman of Hesperia during action from games earlier this season. Photos by Kacey Nelson and Jim Cherry.
"A good catcher is the quarterback, the carburetor, the lead dog, the pulse taker, the traffic cop and sometimes a lot of unprintable things, but no team gets very far without one." -Miller Huggins
Strong mound performances drive Pack while Panthers snap skid
Fremont 2 Beal City 1
Payton Mansfield and Aggie Wade Wilson went head to head in a pitchers duel in the opening game of the Fremont Invitational. The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the 5th when Jon Mellema reached on a single and came home courtesy of Logan Nelson’s hit. Joey DeLong then plated Nelson to stake the Pack to a 2-0 lead. The Aggies got on the board in the top of the 6th when Cameron Lynch tripled and Wilson drove him home but Mansfield got out of the inning with no more damage and blanked Beal City in their final at bat.
Mansfield struck out 12 in the game and overcame 4 Packer errors to snare the win.
Fremont 2 Comstock Park 1
In the finals Fremont faced Comstock Park and the game turned into another low scoring affair. The Packers got an early run in the first when Mansfield drove home Nelson who had walked, one of his three free passes in the game. Drew DeBlake shut down the Panthers through 6 ⅔ giving way to Brenden Maka who yielded the lone CP run and overcame some control issues to get the final out. The Packer defense played errorless ball in the win.
Hesperia 5 Manistee 1
The Panthers continued their improvement Saturday with a 5-1 victory over Manistee in the 2021 Ken Smith Memorial Tournament at Hesperia. The Panthers took a 2-1 lead after the first inning and never gave it up. Leading the offense for the Panthers was Armando Escobedo with 2 hits and 2 runs scored. Travis Kurtz also had two hits in the win. Kurtz earned his first win as a pitcher only allowing 2 hits and striking out 6.
Ravenna 9 Hesperia 1
In the tourney title game Hesperia only managed one hit by senior Braden Nielsen for the game versus solid pitching from the Bulldogs. Armando Escobedo took the loss from the mound but only gave up 4 hits while striking out 2.
Grant defeated Manistee 10-1 in the consolation game.
The Panthers look to continue to improve on Monday when they visit Kent City.