Panthers outlast rain, Limestone

Bryan Veginski

Six conference baseball teams separated two games

The Washington baseball team could not come all the way back from an 8-0 deficit May 4.

The Panthers got as close as two runs before falling to the host Irish, 10-6, in a non-conference game in Peoria.

Charlie Ludolph was 3-for-4 and Mason McCoy doubled and drove in four runs in a 2-for-4 effort.

McCoy took the loss on the mound. He was relieved in the fourth inning by Jared Holloman. They combined for seven strikeouts.

Dunlap 7, WCHS 4

The Panthers got swept by the Eagles after a road loss May 5.

Dunlap got out to a 4-0 lead and did not surrender the advantage to pull within a half-game of Washington in the conference race.

Ludolph crushed a pair of solo home runs, and Jeremy Piers also drove in a run.

Joining Ludolph with two hits were: Marshall Escue, Zach Little and Dominick Dalfonso, the latter of which doubled.

Nick Finney, who fanned three and walked one, suffered his first loss of the season. Escue worked the sixth inning.

WCHS 21, Central 0 (5)

The Panthers drubbed the Lions in a Friday night non-conference contest.

McCoy and Dakota Bullard went deep and drove in a combined three runs while going 4-for-7.

Washington scored nine runs in the second inning and eight in the fourth.

Dalfonso was 3-for-3, and Little, Seth Teubel, Chance Cline and Piers all racked up two hits.

Dalfonso and Teubel co-led the Panthers with three RBI. Escue, Little, Mark Roth, Piers, Ludolph, Ryan Grebner, Cline and Sam Best all knocked in at least one run.

Washington also collected five doubles and a triple.

Best whirled a two-hit complete game in which he struck out six without a walk.

The Lions’ first reliever gave up 16 hits and 15 runs in 2 1/3 innings.

WCHS 4-2, Lincoln 3-12

The Panthers split a Saturday doubleheader with the host Railsplitters.

Dalfonso paced the offense in game one with two hits and two RBI.

Grebner and Bullard both doubled and scored for Washington.

Ludolph got his first varsity victory after whiffing three and giving up two earned runs in five innings. Grebner picked up a two-inning save.

The Panthers trailed 2-1 before single tallies in the fifth and sixth innings.

Lincoln plated 10 runs in the first two innings to win the second game in five frames.

McCoy registered the lone RBI and Little the only Washington extra-base hit.

Piers was handed the loss. Teubel threw the last 3 2/3 innings before the Railsplitters won it with one out in the fifth.

WCHS 8, Limestone 6

The Panthers battled the elements Monday to again climb back in the conference race.

Washington (16-11, 7-4) scored three sixth-inning runs without a hit to come back for the second time on the night.

The other M-I co-leader, East Peoria also lost to Metamora, creating a logjam of six above .500 teams separated by only two games.

The Raiders and Rockets currently are tied for first place at 8-3.

One game back, in a deadlock for third, are the Panthers and Morton. Metamora and Dunlap both are in fifth at 6-5 after the Eagles were rained out.

Besides cool temperatures for the 7 p.m. first pitch, Washington also fought through a persistent rain that ranged from light to substantial. There also were scattered delays to apply drying material on the mound and at home plate.

“We did what we had to do to get the win,” WCHS head coach Kyle Wisher said.

Back-to-back homers in the first inning, the first a two-run shot, gave Limestone a quick 3-0 edge.

Finney, the starter, settled in and put up three consecutive zeroes to give the Panthers a chance to cut into the lead.

The first opportunity came in the third inning. Five straight Washington hitters reached base.

A throwing error on a McCoy infield single sent the first run home. With the bases loaded and one out, Escue drilled a two-run single up the middle to tie it.

In the next frame, Roth singled with one out before Dalfonso drew a walk, one of nine issued by Limestone pitchers.

Piers singled sharply to center field and two runs eventually scored on a throwing error into foul territory from the middle of the diamond by Rocket first baseman Connor Webster.

Piers is one of many young players who have helped the varsity this year.

“That’s a credit to them,” said Wisher of the considerable number of freshmen and sophomores who are being called upon to contribute. “They keep getting better as the season goes on.”

Three hit-by-pitches in a row and a Limestone RBI infield single made it 5-4 in the fifth.

A two-run double to the left-center field gap in the top of the sixth put the Rockets on top again, 6-5.

Limestone did not retire any of the first five Panther batters in the bottom of the sixth.

Roth walked and Dalfonso was awarded first base after a sacrifice when Webster was sprawled across the first-base line.

Piers, McCoy and Bullard all received free passes. McCoy and Bullard got RBI for their patience when runs were forced in, and Piers scooted home on a wild pitch to make it 8-6.

Escue struck out two in the seventh for the save in relief of winner Finney.

Little doubled for an offense which collected six hits.

Postseason: Washington is a No. 3 seed in its own Class 3A regional.

The Panthers will face sixth-seeded Notre Dame at 4:30 p.m. May 24 in the quarterfinals.

The winner will meet No. 2 seed Morton at 7 p.m. May 27 in the semifinals.

The regional final is set for 11 a.m. May 29.