The McKinleyville Panthers bounced back from a disappointing game-one loss to Kelseyville on Saturday to take game two and split a baseball doubleheader at Mack High.
The visitors scored in the top of the seventh to break a late tie in the opener on the way to winning 7-6, but the Panthers came out much better in game two and comfortably won 17-2.
“It was really like two different teams playing,” McKinleyville head coach Scott St. John said. “In the second game we came out hitting, and as one of my coaches says, ‘hitting is contagious,’ and we started hitting and couldn’t stop.”
Tyson Bragg had a good day at the plate and was 2-for-2 in game two with a home run and three RBIs, after also hitting a double in the opener.
The home run was one of six extra-base hits in game two for the Panthers, who exploded for 10 runs in the third inning to take control.
Tenoch Tapia was 2-for-3 with a triple; Logan Maher was 2-for-2 with a triple and three RBIs; Kolbey Stolpe was 2-for-3; and Brodie Sargent, Bryce Sargent and Beau Karrer each had a double.
Evan Fraser got the win on the mound, tossing all five innings and allowing just two earned runs on four hits and one walk, while striking out four.
“Evan Fraser pitched well in the second game,” St. John said. “He threw a lot of strikes and he let his defense work.”
Game one, however, was a different story, and the performance was “not up to our standards,” according to the head coach.
Brayden Craven pitched two innings in relief and took the loss, allowing four hits and no walks and striking out three.
In a back-and-forth game, the Panthers battled back from a 6-5 deficit to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth before giving up the winning run in the top of the seventh.
Bates led the way at the plate with a pair of hits and “probably deserved a little better” on the mound, according to St. John.
“I was pleased after the way we lost in game one to come back and win the second game like we did,” the head coach said.
Next up, the Panthers (3-1) will play South Fork at the St. Bernard’s tournament on Friday.