The Pekin baseball team scored a total of four runs in two games this week against Washington.
But the Dragons earned a split in the series against their Mid-Illini Conference rival.
Each team won on the road. Pekin beat Washington 2-1 Wednesday at Brian Wisher Field. Washington crushed Pekin 14-2 Monday at Harry Anderson Field in a game that lasted just five innings because of the run rule.
With the loss Wednesday, Washington (16-8, 6-4) slid into a tie with Dunlap for third place in the Mid-Illini standings. Morton and Canton are atop the Mid-Illini at 8-2.
Great pitching, solid defense and clutch hitting was the recipe for the Dragons’ victory Wednesday.
Winning pitcher Nathan Righi went the distance, scattering six hits.
Catcher Braden Lavin, Righi’s batterymate, threw out four runners trying to steal second base. Shortstop Skyler Coryell tagged out all those runners.
The clutch hits for Pekin (8-9, 4-6) were an RBI single by Michael Ellwanger in the third inning and a two-out, RBI double by Evan Pogioli in the sixth that broke a 1-1 tie.
Pogioli’s high drive to deep left-center brought home Righi from first base. Righi had walked.
Washington scored in the fourth when Ben Mount was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and one out. Righi retired the next two batters on a popup and strikeout to escape further damage.
Lavin threw out a runner trying to steal in that inning. He also threw out runners with one out in the sixth and seventh, throwing cold water on Washington rallies.
Losing pitcher Brian Pershing also went the distance. He struck out eight and allowed only four hits.
“If we get good pitching and defense and can scrape together a couple runs, we’ll have a chance to win every time,” said Pekin coach Larry Davis.
The Panthers pounded out 14 hits Monday against Pekin, which had only three hits and made four errors.
“Washington didn’t have any cheap hits,” Davis said.
Mount had three hits including two doubles and five RBIs. Kendal Hofer contributed three hits including two doubles to the Panthers’ attack.
The highlight of the day for the Dragons was a long two-run homer by Righi in the third. The ball flew over the fence in leftfield, and rolled through the parking lot to Memorial Ice Arena.
Pekin will be back in action Saturday, hosting Springfield Lanphier for a non-conference doubleheader that will begin at 10 a.m.
SOFTBALL: Canton scored three times in the bottom of the first inning and twice more in the third and went on to a 5-2 win Tuesday over Pekin in a Mid-Illini Conference softball game.
The Dragons (4-10, 2-7) hurt themselves with four errors.
“We turned singles into triples three times,” said Pekin coach Skip Penning.
The Dragons had a chance to move in front early, but couldn’t score after loading the bases with one out in the first. They had a couple other chances to score, but couldn’t get a big hit.
Molly Flannigan and Hannah McDonald knocked in runs for Pekin. Pitcher Lexi Juergens allowed five hits and didn’t walk anyone.
“Lexi kept us in the game, as she’d done most of the year,” Penning said.
Pitcher Blair Jacobus fanned 11 for Canton (9-9, 4-5).
“We’ve got eight games left in the regular season. Hopefully, we can finish strong,” Penning said.
The Dragons were scheduled to play host to conference foe East Peoria on Thursday.
BOYS TENNIS: Pontiac beat host Pekin 7-2 Wednesday in a non-conference boys tennis match at John Moss Courts.
The Dragons’ wins came from Peyton Swearingen at No. 4 singles and Jack Mansfield and Jayson Presley at No. 3 doubles.
Pekin will compete Friday and Saturday in the Gene Hills tournament hosted by Normal U. High.
Steve Stein can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.