Shane Merrill | Writer
Parker Blue had another perfect showing last week, facing the #2 and #3 ranked teams in the Prairie Grass League. First on the docket was #2 and undefeated Tea Fortin, which found the Pheasants in their toughest matchup of the year.
Luke Travnicek took the mound for the Pheasants and continued his stellar season, throwing just seven pitches in the first inning with three outs. Parker was then up to bat, with Travnicek finding first and Rush Bleyenberg doubling sending him home for an early 1-0 lead. Both teams traded defensive blows from there, but even after the Titans tied 1-1, Parker came right back, with Emmitt Rowe recording his first hit of the season, sending a shot over the second baseman for an RBI double scoring Teegun Wentzel and making it 2-1 in favor of the hosts.
Tea then exploded in the fifth inning, notching four runs, setting the stage for a remarkable come back. Up to bat first was Carter Berens who was walked, but two consecutive outs looked to spell doom for the Pheasants, fortunately, the sticks came to life, as Travnicek was also walked setting the stage for a Marquice Bortnem double, scoring two and making it 5-4. Bleyenberg was then up to bat, doubling again tying the game at 5-5. Korbyn Leveille was next to bat, singling to and advancing Bleynerbg to third. The shot of the night came from the bat of Wentzel, who battled to a 3-2 count before uncorking on a shot to the fence, scoring two on a triple and ending the inning due to the five run rule, putting Parker back in control 7-5. The top of the sixth was just as entertaining, as the first Tea batter was walked and attempted to steal, but Wentzel rared back from behind the plate, throwing the runner out at second and recording the first out. With Bortnem now on the mound, he took the next batter himself, giving Parker two outs. It was a battle from there on out, as the Titans once again loaded the bases, with Bleyenberg coming into pitch, battling the batter to a full count before the final play, a ground out to first which Bortnem bare handed on an ugly bounce which sealed the win for Parker, keeping them in first place in league standings and moving them to an 8-0 record in the game.
Travnicek led the defense with 11 strikeouts, walking one over four and two-thirds innings. Wentzel, Travnicek and Bleyenberg all led on hits, going 2-2 with 10 hits total as a team, compared to seven for Tea. Parker was sure handed once again with zero errors on the night.
“This was a fun one,” remarked coach Shane Merrill after the game. “We came ready to go and pulled it out, they are a great team, but our grit and determination got us through tonight.”
Parker rolls past undefeated Canton Anderson
In the midst of all the excitement came a second game just a night later, this time the Pheasants were dispatched to play #3 and undefeated Canton Anderson. Parker wasted little time on the hosts, quickly rallying ahead 3-0 in the top of the first. Korbyn Leveille got the scoring going in the first knocking in two runs to opening things up. Carter Berens then singled, scoring Leveille and making things 3-0 before the last out was recorded.
Rush Bleyenberg took the mound for Parker on the night, after walking the first a one-two-three inning ensued, with the Pheasants back at the plate. Things remained locked until the top of the third, when Parker scored three more off hits from Travnicek, Bortnem and Bleynberg. That pushed the score to 6-0 by the end of the inning, and Parker was able to hang on from there adding two more insurance runs in the fourth, with Bleyenberg throwing three and a third inning, striking out six. Owen Travnicek then entered recording the last two outs for the Pheasants as they went on to get the win 8-2 and improve to 9-0 (6-0 League) on the season.
“Another great effort,” said coach Shane Merrill. “It was a little tough to bounce back from the energy and excitement of last night, but these guys came in and just took care of business like they do. It’s been an honor to coach them and see their determination as they march towards their goal of a league championship.”