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Panthers hold off ADM, 5-4

Published: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 3:55 a.m. CDT

The Creston baseball team picked up a quality win in its next-to-last regular season game here Monday.

ADM, still involved in the championship race of the Raccoon River Conference with Winterset and Perry (those teams play Wednesday), brought a 19-10 record to Panther Field Monday night.

But it was Creston, now 12-14, that took command most of the night in building a 5-0 lead before hanging on in the seventh inning for a 5-4 non-conference victory.

“I told the guys, that’s the top seed in that substate over there. We just beat a solid club,” Creston coach Steve Birchard said. “Winterset and Perry play Wednesday, and the winner splits the conference title with them. We know we can beat a team of that caliber. We just have to put it all together when it counts.”

The final regular season game is at home tonight against Chariton (17-12), which presents another good tuneup for Friday’s district opener in Atlantic against Winterset.

Birchard is using these first two days of the week as a chance for all of his varsity pitchers to get a little work in prior to district play, and three Panther seniors shared mound duties Monday night.

Brandon Phipps needed only 37 pitches to get through three scoreless innings, allowing only one hit. Nate Haley tossed two hitless innings before giving way to Cole Crawford.

Only one baserunner reached against Crawford in the sixth on a walk. But the Panthers saw the Tigers mount a rally in the seventh, starting the inning with three walks and two singles before an out was recorded.

With runners on first and second and no outs, Chase Shiltz fielded a grounder at third and stepped on the bag for a force out, barely throwing late to first for a would-be double play.

After another single, shortstop Conner Pals fielded a ground ball up the middle and stepped on second for an out, also just missing a double play on the throw to first.

With runners on first and third and the Panthers holding onto a 5-4 lead, Crawford gloved a high bouncer back toward the mound and ran the ball over to first for the final out to preserve the one-run victory.

“We had timely hitting tonight, and pretty good pitching for the most part,” Birchard said. “Crawford got himself in some trouble with the walks, but got out of it with the groundballs.”

Birchard expects to employ a similar strategy tonight, expecting to give Shiltz, Kadon Hulett and Trevor Luther some time on the mound. Shiltz may get the start Friday against the Huskies, but Birchard said he’ll have everyone available.

The offense produced seven hits Monday while the pitchers were yielding only four, including three in the final inning.

Pals had two hits, Luther was 2-of-3 with a double and two RBI, while Shiltz and Hulett also rapped doubles. Crawford added a single.

Jason Sloss had two hits for ADM, which is coached by former SWCC player Jason Book.

Junior varsity

The Creston JV exploded for 14 hits in an 11-6 victory over ADM Monday.

Brody Frain and winning pitcher Cody Crawford were each 3-of-3 with an RBI, including a double by Crawford. Gavin Woods, Dalton O’Riley and Colton Bolinger each had two hits. Bolinger, in his first action after wrist surgery, had a double and finished with three RBI.

Also, Dustin Merritt hit a double and Jaden Driskell had a hit with two RBI.

On the mound, Crawford allowed six hits in five innings with four walks and two strikeouts.

The Panthers conclude their season tonight against Chariton.

Creston 5, ADM 4

R H E

ADM 000 000 4 — 4 4 2

Creston 102 011 x — 5 7 0

A: Sam Kornstad, Elijah McCartney (5) total 5K 1BB and Logan Essy. Cr: Brandon Phipps 2K 0BB, Nate Haley (4) 4K 2BB, Cole Crawford (6) 0K 4BB and Kadon Hulett. W — Phipps. L— Kornstad. 2B — Cr: Trevor Luther, Chase Shiltz, Kadon Hulett. RBI — Cr: Luther 2, Haley 1, Hulett 1. Multiple hitters — A: Jake Sloss 2; Cr: Conner Pals 2, Luther 2.

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