Because the Lewis and Clark Conference Tournament is coming up, Paris varsity baseball coach Mike Fible decided to use a pitcher by committe approach when his team hosted Madison for a nonleague warmup contest on Monday so no one individual would be too worn out when he needed them most.
While that strategy allowed the Coyotes to contend for most the contest and even take a brief lead, it was the teams inability to make contact that finally caught up to it as the Panthers scored five runs in the sixth inning and two in the seventh to defeat Paris 12-5.
"The difference in this game was we struck out 16 times out of the 21 outs," said Paris coach Mike Fible. "Eight of our first nine outs were on strikeouts. We obviously need to work on putting the bat on the ball and outing the ball in play,"
The Coyotes gave up two runs in the top of the first, but were finally able to make it a 2-1 game in the bottom of the third when Adam Forrest drove home Keaton Threlkeld with a double to left field. Brock Miller's infield single then put runners on first and third, so when he stole second and the throw went into centerfield, that allowed Forrest to tie the game and Brock Miller ended up on third and later crossed home plate when Blake Turner struck out and the catcher dropped the third strike to go up 3-2.
"We had to pitch by committee tonight because our (Lewis and Clark) Conference Tournament starts Wednesday," Fible said. "We've got one game Wednesday night and two on Saturday, so we're going to need all hand on deck for that. We basically treated things like a bullpen tonight so those guys would all be eligible for Wednesday."
By the bottom of the fourth Paris, 4-3 overall, was already down 5-3 when Zack Rentschler hit a one out double and then Threlkeld did the same to make it a one-run game prior to claiming third on a wild pitch while Reese Barton was at the plate. Threlkeld then made it home on yet another wild pitch while Forrest was up to bat and that deadlocked the score at 5-5.
The top of the sixth is where the rubber met the road as Madison's Landon Hathaway drew a bases loaded walk off of the Coyotes Ethan Redington and Tyler Duff connected for a grand slam, all of which took place with no outs. But, because the Panthers' Tyler Buck hit into a double play and John Clark struck out, the rally was over as quickly as it began.
In the seventh Madison's final two runs came on a double by Austin Thomas and a two-run homerun by Tyler Wandrey.
For Paris, Rentschler started the game at pitcher and was replaced in the second inning by Brett Miller. Forrest also saw some time on the mound before Redington closed things out.