Panthers keep heat on D-SC baseball leaders
The St. Croix Central baseball team is keeping the heat on Dunn-St. Croix Conference leader Elk Mound.
The Panthers scored wins over Plum City and Boyceville to raise their D-SC record to 3-1. Elk Mound delivered the Panthers' only loss of the conference schedule. The Mounders sit atop the Large School Division of the D-SC with a 4-0 record.
It took a little persistence from the Panthers to get their 5-3 win over Plum City on Monday. The Panthers didn't show much energy at the plate in the early innings. That all changed in the sixth inning, when the Panthers peppered the ball around the outfield to score four runs.
Luke Brown and Kyle Cress came through with two strike hits to keep the rally alive. Joe Poulin then delivered the big hit, a two-run double that put the Panthers in front.
David Butler started on the mound for the Panthers. He had to leave the game after the second inning after being spiked in the thigh on a play at the plate.
Cress came on and pitched five strong innings of relief. Cress has been struggling a bit lately with the location of his pitches. Monday's outing was just what he needed. His control got better as he worked through the five innings.
Central pitchers dealt out a frustrating 15 walks, but the Panthers still managed somehow to beat Boyceville last Thursday, 9-8.
Butler started on the mound and got the win, though he walked eight batters in five innings. Cress came on and struggled in the sixth inning. Andrew Thomley got the save by pitching the seventh inning for the Panthers.
Boyceville led 2-1 until the Panthers exploded in the late innings. The Panthers scored three runs in the fifth inning and five more in the sixth inning.
Cress led the team with three hits and three runs batted in. Butler scored three times.
Central coach Mike Fern said he was pleased that the Panthers were able to run up this offensive total against one of Boyceville's best pitchers. He said Boyceville was ranked highly in pre-season polls due to the strength of its pitching.
Next up for the Panthers are teams from the small school divison of the conference. On Thursday the Panthers will be playing at home against Spring Valley. That's followed by a road trip to Pepin next Monday.
The Panthers play a non-conference game at Somerset next Tuesday.