Saturday, September 30, 2023

Panthers fall to Greenville in D7 championship

A quest by the Maxwell baseball team for a second straight Northern Section Division VII title was foiled, on May 19, when the No. 3 Panthers fell 4-6 to No. 1 Greenville in a contest.

While most of the other section championship games took place on Saturday, May 20, the Panthers and Indians, to avoid conflict with the Maxwell Rodeo, squared off on Friday in Greenville.

And although Maxwell got off to a strong start, the team’s relative youth led to miscues that ultimately could not be overcome.

Leadoff batter, Massey Baker, scored the game’s first run in the top of the first, when, after reaching on an error, stole second and came around to score on a double off the bat of Tanner Vierra.

It was the only run the Panthers produced in the frame, but they increased their advantage to 2-0 in the third after Brody Jones, who had reached on a single and advanced to second, on a hit by Yahir Alcaraz, then scored when Noel Velazquez hit into a fielder’s choice.

However, in the home half of the inning, three consecutive misplays by Maxwell opened the gate for the Indians, as the Panthers conceded three unearned runs before Alcaraz, who fanned eight of the first 12 batters he faced, restored order.

Still, Maxwell showed its mettle by responding with two runs in the top of the fourth, after back-to-back doubles by Robert Waite and Baker.

Waite, who went 2 for 2 on the day, scored on Baker’s two-bagger, while Baker stole third and home to account for what was the Panthers’ final run of the game.

Greenville, however, wasn’t done, and answered with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, then one more in the sixth to put the game away.

Maxwell did have a chance to add to their total in the sixth, when Edgar Izquierdo tripled, but the Panthers could not push a run across the plate.

While disappointed with the loss, coach Tyler Wells was pleased with the effort of his team that includes 14 underclassmen, and is looking forward to next season.

“We made a lot of what I call youth mistakes against Greenville,” Wells said. “But give them credit, they didn’t allow us to run and didn’t give up the big hit. Our youth showed, but look for us next season, because we have some incoming players that are going to make us even stronger.”

Maxwell finished the year with an overall record of 8-13 and was the third place team in the Mid-Valley League. ■

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