Panthers end series with triumph

Brendan Lesmeister fires a pitch at the April 10 rivalry game against Dallas.

INDEPENDENCE — Two hits late in the game from Brendan Lesmeister, and a final run in overtime during the rivalry game between Central and Dallas led to a win, 3-2, for the Panthers in the first of a three-game series on April 9.

The Panthers (3-6, Mid-Willamette Conference, 7-7) fell behind when Dallas (3-3, MWC, 8-4) laced two runs in the fourth inning. They couldn’t seem to get a handle on their offensive side until Lesmeister stepped up to the plate during the final inning and belted out two runs, bringing the game to a tie until the final run sent the Panthers to victory.

April 10, it was a pitcher’s duel between both schools, Lesmeister and Dallas’s Jaret Stewart battling it out for the win, with Dallas pulling up a few more plays at the end for their first win, 3-1.

For the Panthers, Peter Mendazona went two for three with two doubles, and Brandon Lopez had the team’s only RBI. Brendan Lesmeister threw six innings, which is the most he’s ever pitched in a game before.

“It was a great outing for Brendan,” Panthers head coach Thomas Roberts said. “It’s his first game this year that he’s pitched almost a complete game, so that was really nice to see.”

He said that defensively, the team should have picked him up a little more but overall, the junior pitched a good game, striking out and allowing no earned runs.

“I wanna work on at the plate,” Lesmeister said, “going opposite field, you know, putting the ball on the ground instead of flying out. And on the mound, starting ahead in the count, instead of, you know, I hit somebody and walk two people. I gotta start off with strikes. Just keep working ahead of ‘em, can’t start from behind.”

The Panthers only run came in the third inning, scoring one run on five hits and four errors. Dallas had three runs with five hits and one error. Weisensee was two for three with an RBI. Treve Earhart had two hits, and Stewart pitched a complete game, striking out 10 Panthers.

“I always tell him it starts on the mound, and Jaret on the mound was tough,” Dallas head coach Scot McDonald said. “He made pitches when he needed to.”

Even though the Dragons walked away with a win, McDonald saw areas where they need to improve, specifically when it comes to the offensive side. He said their low score of the game was caused by a lack of consistent hits, something he wants to work on before their next game on Friday.

“You know, I think pitching and defense, that’s kinda been pretty consistent,” he said, “but we need to be more competitive at bats.”

Two innings of overtime was what it took in for the Panthers to pull off a triumph in their last game of the rivalry series against Dallas, winning on Friday by a squeeze, 4-3.

Josh Rodriguez scored the last run with a bunt by Lopez in the ninth inning. Connor Laeng went two for two with a double, a single, and two runs scored. Peter Mendazona pitched a complete game, including both overtime innings, and only allowed one earned run while striking out 11.

“This was one we felt like we needed to have, and the guys executed down the stretch,” Roberts said.

For the Dragons, Treve Earhart was two for four with two singles and one RBI.

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