Panthers come back late to beat Chico

Saint Jo started the second round of district play on Friday at Chico and got some revenge from the first match up.
The Panthers won 11-8, with nine runs coming in the final two innings from Saint Jo to come from behind to win.
The Panthers did not start off on the best note. After failing to get a base runner on, the Dragons were able to load the bases with free bases and score two runs on a single to go up 2-0 in the first inning.
Saint Jo’s Chance Bennett was able to hit a one out single to get on base in the second inning. Unfortunately, he was thrown out trying to steal second and the Panthers next batter struck out. Chico failed to get a base runner on as the game moved to the third inning.
Neither team had much luck as Saint Jo went three up and three down while the Dragons leadoff walk did not lead to anything.
The fourth inning saw the Panthers offense get some momentum. With one out, a fielding error and single got two runners on base. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position. Logan Morman singled to left field to drive in a run. Two batters later Jace Johnson singled to drive in another run and tie the game at 2-2.
The score did not stay tied for long. Chico answered in the bottom of the fourth. Two errors scored two runs a two RBI single to left field scored two more as the Dragons extended their lead to 6-2 before Saint Jo ended the inning with a double play.
Things continued to not go the Panthers way in the fifth inning. All three of their batters struck out on offense. A leadoff walk by Chico came back to bite Saint Jo as a two out single drove in the runner to make the lead 7-2 heading into the final two innings.
The top of the sixth inning is where everything changed. The Dragons changed pitchers and the Panthers jumped on the new one.
The first two hitters hit back-to-back singles. With steals and a wild pitch, Connor Thompson scored. Morman hit a line drive single up the middle to score the other runner.
After striking out for the innings second out a hit batter put two runners on base. Eli Jones hit a double into the gap that scored both runners to cut the lead to 7-6 before the inning ended.
Chico was not ready to just lay down and give up the game. The Dragons were able to load the bases up with two drawn walks and a single, but Thompson was able to get the strike out for the third out to keep the game within one run.
In the final inning, Saint Jo’s offense did not stop. Even with new pitchers in for Chico, the Panthers offense kept going.
After a leadoff walk and steal, Thompson drove in the runner with a double to tie the game. An error allowed runners at the corners. Two batters later Morman cam through with a RBI single to left field. Thanks to an error on the throw, another run scored and Morman ended up on third base.
Bennett batted next and was able to drive Morman in with a single to left field. A couple batters later, Bennett eventually scored on a passed ball to make the score 11-7.
The Dragons threatened to come back themselves. A leadoff walk and several steals put a runner on third base. A ground out for the second out scored the runner to cut the lead to 11-8.
A single followed to keep the game alive, but the next batter flew out to left field to end the game and give Saint Jo the victory.

To read the full story, pick up a copy of the mid-week edition of the Bowie News.