VAN METER — Southwest Valley knew going into its Class 2A District 15 opener here Saturday against Panorama it would have to avoid giving up any big innings.
But that didn’t stop the Panthers from putting up two big innings on the scoreboard in a 9-3 win that ended Southwest Valley’s season.
“The crooked numbers have killed us all year,” Southwest Valley head coach Pete Nett said. “One of the things we worked on was trying to get an out and stay out of those innings. A couple of those times, I think we made the right choice to try to throw to a base to get a particular out, but it just didn’t happen for us.”
Panorama scored three runs in the first inning and added six more in the fourth inning, after the Timberwolves had cut the lead to 3-2.
Southwest Valley opened the game by committing back-to-back errors.
Starting pitcher Colten Drake recorded a strikeout, but then Panorama put the pressure on.
Denis James singled in a run, and then back-to-back walks brought in a run, while another run scored on a wild pitch.
Drake was able to finally get out of the inning with another strikeout and a fielder’s choice groundout.
But the damage had been done.
“We didn’t get nickle and dimed to death,” Nett said. “They got them in bunches and we just didn’t get out of those situations clean enough to prevent those bunches well enough.”
Drake battled out of a bases-loaded jam with one out in the bottom of the second inning and then cruised through the third inning, going three up, three down.
The Southwest Valley bats finally came alive in the top of the fourth inning, as senior Evan Baldwin led off with a triple off the right field fence. Baldwin scored when Keegan Longabaugh reached base on an error.
After stealing second base, Longabaugh took third base when Panorama pitcher Kooper Duis threw the ball away on a pickoff attempt.
Senior Drey Barton drove Longabaugh in with an RBI sacrifice fly to left field.
The Timberwolves loaded up the bases when Bryan Pearson reached base on an error, but the inning ended with a popup along the third base line, as the Panorama third baseman made the catch while falling down.
“That fly ball, that’s a tough play,” Nett said. “It’s a tough play, because it’s right on a line and it’s right even with the pitcher. The ball landed in fair territory. If that kid doesn’t catch it, we’ve got the top of the order coming up and, most importantly, we’ve put a number on the board that is the same as their number, and we’ve tied the score.”
Southwest Valley couldn’t keep the momentum rolling, though, as the Panthers scored six runs on four hits and one error in the bottom half of the fourth inning to blow the game wide open.
Drake was relieved by Nick Frederick during the fourth inning after giving up four runs on six hits with four walks and four strikeouts. Frederick surrendered four runs on two hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Neither team mounted much of an attack until the top of the seventh inning, when Frederick led off by reaching base on an error. He advanced on a wild pitch and came around to score on a Ryan Allison single to left field.
But the Timberwolves finished the game with just three hits, struggling to figure out Panorama pitcher Kooper Duis.
Duis recorded 13 strikeouts compared to just two walks in picking up the win.
“Their kid on the mound did a nice job of keeping us off balance,” Nett said. “The kids in the dugout were saying it was a knuckleball. It doesn’t make any difference if it was a knuckleball or a curveball or a knuckle curveball. It was an offspeed pitch that kept us off balance. We really didn’t get a good read on it.”
Southwest Valley ends its season with a record of 4-17, while Panorama improved to 4-20. The Panthers advance to take on second-ranked Van Meter in Van Meter at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
Four Timberwolves played their final game on Saturday. Seniors were Longabaugh, Barton, Baldwin and William Roberts.
“My seniors have been great this year,” Nett said. “We’re going to miss all four of those guys.”
Southwest Valley 3
R H E
SWV 000 200 1 — 3 3 3
Pan 300 600 0 — 9 8 3
SWV: Colten Drake 4BB 4K, Nick Frederick (4) 2BB 4K and Keegan Longabaugh. P: Kooper Duis 2BB 13K and Denis James. W — Duis. L— Drake. HR — none. 3B — SWV: Evan Baldwin 1. P: Nathan Block 1. 2B — P: Duis 1. RBI — SWV: Drey Barton 1, Ryan Allison 1. P: Block 2, James 1, Eric Fisher 1, Mitchell McNeill 1. Multiple hitters — P: Block 2, James 2.