Trailing by two runs and down to their final out, Knoxville’s Eric Jones delivered a bases-clearing line drive to deep left field that gave the Panther baseball team a dramatic, come-from-behind victory over Pella Christian on Wednesday night by a final score of 5-4.
Broadcast live on 92.1 fm KRLS, the game saw the momentum swing back-and-forth in the final inning, as the Eagles added two runs in the top of the seventh to give themselves a three-run lead. Knoxville pulled itself to within two runs as Bryant McWilliams scored on an infield error to make the score 4-2.
After a strikeout the Eagles were just one out away from victory before a single by Justin Katich and a walk drawn by Ross Shelford loaded the bases and set the stage for Eric Jones’s game-winning blast to left field. It was a bit of redemption for Jones, who had thrown a solid 6 1/3 innings for Knoxville, striking out eight and giving up just two walks and two hits.
Pella Christian’s hurler was just as impressive, as Tom Bouwkamp struck out seven Panther batters and gave up just four hits in 6 2/3 innings. Knoxville’s Bryant McWilliams led the Panther offense with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate, scoring once; while Pella Christian’s Zach Zylstra pulled himself out of a small hitting slump by going 2-for-2 with two walks and a run scored.
The loss was the first of the season for the Eagles, who are now 4-1 overall and on the road at Fairfield tonight. Knoxville is also traveling this evening, as the Panther baseball team is now 4-0 and will play at Albia.