Panthers rally falls short
Unable to get enough runs late to overcome the Cowley Community College advantage. Neosho County Community College baseball's season came to an end in a 8-5 loss to the Tigers in a NJCAA Central District elimination game Saturday.
For the second straight game for the Panthers, play started and was halted by mother nature. After the first inning, play was suspended for about two hours.
After the weather cleared, Neosho gave up three runs in the bottom of the second and one in the bottom of the fourth, before rattling off five straight runs, to cut the Tiger lead to 6-5 after six innings.
“We made a few mistakes early,” Head Baseball Coach Steve Murry said. “Most teams fold in that situation. Our team didn't. I'm proud of the way they fought back. A break here and break there and we get it taken care of.”
Once Panther pitcher Tyler Mitzel entered the game, the Cowley offense stifled. Mitzel threw 5 1/3 innings allowing three runs on three hits. He struck out one and walked three. He had three scoreless innings and two 1-2-3 innings.
“Tyler Mitzel grew up before our eyes today,” Murry said. “He will be a mainstay next year and we've known that all along. Inexperienced as he was, he got in there did what he had to do. This final game was kind of his proving ground. I couldn't be more happy for the guy.”
Neosho finishes the season 42-16 and will lose several players from the sophomore class that will move on in their baseball and academic careers.
“I've got nothing but love for these guys,” Murry said. “They are all yardbirds, which means they are always at the yard. You can see the tears flowing. That's tough. We became a family and it's tough to turn your kids loose. You go 24/7 with these guys for two years and you know them like your own children.”
Shane Hummel started the game for the Panthers but was pulled because of the long rain delay. He allowed two runs on two hits in the bottom of the first. Jeremy Mansur pitched 2/3 of an inning, allowing three runs on one hit. Nathan Whitcomb came in in the eighth. He struck out one and allowed one hit.
Levi Ashmore was 3-for-4 at the plate with a RBI. Jonah Bride drove in a run, batting 2-for-4. Brady Childs and Trevor Burkdoll had RBIs and were 1-for-4 at the plate.
Cowley moves on to face Johnson County at 10 a.m. Sunday.