The Am-Po Panthers faced off against the Rattan Rams, and prevailed by the score of 15-5. This game would last just 5 innings, as the Panthers would walk it off following a big 9 run inning.
The Panthers got a great start from Senior Blake Ryans, as he would throw 5 innings, give up 5 runs on 9 hits. Ryans would only allow one walk on the afternoon.
The offense for the Panthers was slowed throughout the game, as they would collect 6 of their 8 hits during the 5th innings. In the 5 innings, the Panthers would score 9 runs and send them to the state tournament. In that inning the Panthers were able to end the the game by run rule after a clutch walk off single by Senior Hayden Savage that would score Sophomore Chandler Brittian.
The Panthers would put together 8 hits on the afternoon, led by Hunter Hughes. He would go 2-2 with a single and a 3 run home run. Hughes has hit a home in each of the last 3 games. Also in this game Hughes was intentionally walked two times. Caden Bartlett went 2-2 with a single and a double. Hayden Savage went 1-3 with a walk off single. Nathan Ratcliff went 1-4 with a single. Cash Jay went 1-2 with a infield single, and would finish with 2 RBI’s. Chandler Brittian went 1-3 with a double in the 5th inning, and would later score the winning run.
Am-Po’s Head Coach Cheyenne Graham said “I’m so happy for these guys. They deserve all the credit. We faced adversity and responded yesterday after falling behind Rattan 2-0. Today we got ahead using our small ball game, but again had to respond after they cut the lead to 6-5. But we continued to battle at the plate and were able to put together a big inning. At some point I think every player had a part in these 3 games. I just feel blessed to have been a part of this team.“
Assistant Coach Kody Wilson said “That was the game that defines this team. This is a resilient group of guys. Everyone did their part today to win without trying to do too much, which is often times the case for most high school teams. The guys stayed focused on the right things and had great approaches at the plate from the start, and that’s what helped us blow it open in the 5th. Most of our at-bats that we were getting out on were productive or quality at-bats. Going deep in counts, moving runners over, or scoring someone seemingly every at-bat to just wear them down mentally and physically. It was like a good boxer throwing a bunch of jabs and body shots to wear down his opponent to get ready to throw the “haymaker” at the perfect time.
Blake had one gutsy performance on the mound today against a very good Rattan team. The kid deserves a lot of credit for holding them to 5 runs, because Rattan is a very tough line-up to pitch at. He battled his way out of some potentially bad situations by executing his pitches and locating when he needed to. Then the defense was solid behind him.
Like I said, the guys all did their part in this win, from Caden safety squeezing in our first run, to Hunter Hughes hitting his 3rd bomb of the tournament, to Hayden hitting the walk-off single up the middle for the run-rule. I could go on and on about this game and how each guy had an impact. What it came down to is that we were locked in from the start and when Rattan made that run at us in the 4th, we responded big time!“