Panthers win a close one at St. Helena, go to 6-2 on the season

File photo by Erik Fraser – Riley Bates pitched six strong innings at St. Helena on Friday.

The McKinleyville Panthers scored three early runs and made them count in a 3-2 win at St. Helena in baseball on Friday.

The win was the fourth in five games for the Panthers, who improved to 6-2, and a young roster is building some crucial momentum with league play set to begin next week.

Riley Bates pitched six strong innings for the win, giving up just two earned runs on six hits and one walk and striking out four.

Brayden Craven threw one hitless inning in relief for the save.

Tenoch Tapia and Brodie Sargent led the way at the plate.

Sargent was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, while Tapia was 2-for-4 with a double and scored one of his team’s runs.

Bryce Sargent also had a double, while Austin Brown and Kolbey Stople each added a hit.

The Panthers scored twice in the top of the first and added a third run in the third inning to lead 3-1, before the Saints narrowed the gap to just one in the bottom of the sixth to give themselves a chance late.

With the loss, the Saints drop to 3-6.

The Panthers will continue preparation for league play when they play at Salesian (7-3) on Saturday at 11 a.m.

They open league play at Eureka on Wednesday.

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