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 Burchett, Bearhope Spark Knightstown to Sweep

April 16, 2008 - Knightstown received two outstanding pitching efforts from Zach Burchett and Joe Haase, as well as a clutch three-run homer from senior Jordan Bearhope, to earn a sweep of a double-header against Eastern Hancock Saturday.

Burchett went the distance against the Royals in the first game, pitching a three-hitter and watching his teammates crack out 14 hits in a 13-3 victory. The second game was a pitcher’s duel between Haase and Eastern Hancock’s Jeff Ryan. Bearhope changed all of that with a mammoth three-run homer to right-centerfield in the fourth inning, providing all of the offense in a 3-0 Panther victory.

The twinbill sweep gave Knightstown a 3-1 record and some momentum heading into a very busy schedule. Over the next 12 days, weather permitting, the Panthers are scheduled to play nine games.

Knightstown 3, Eastern Hancock 0

Haase and Ryan hooked up in a pitcher’s duel, with the Knightstown senior scattering four hits. Eastern Hancock was unable to put together two hits in one inning, and Haase struck out 16 batters in yet another masterful performance. The seven shutout innings gave Haase 12 scoreless innings pitched in four days, as well as 26 strikeouts.

Offensively, the big blast was delivered by Bearhope. Ryan had fanned the Knightstown side in the first inning and allowed a single to Zach Burchett in the second frame. He struck out five hitters in the first two innings and appeared in control of the game.

In the third inning Ryan recorded two more strikeouts, giving him seven at that point. Levi Blair poked a single for the first Knightstown hit, but was nailed trying to steal second base by catcher Tyler Scott.

Ryan fanned Jared Kayajan, but Haase got to him for a single in the fourth. Burchett followed with his second hit of the game, but Ryan fought back by striking out Chad Oakes, his ninth in just 3 2/3 innings.

With pinch-runner Danny Ortman and Burchett on board in a scoreless game, Bearhope ran the count to 3-1 before depositing the next Ryan pitch over the fence in right-centerfield. Those three runs would be all Haase would need to secure his second win of the week.

Haase allowed a single to Jacob Low in the first inning, but fanned Lucas Brown, Tyler Scott and Ryan all on called third strikes. He came right back and struck out the side in the second inning.

Eastern Hancock threatened in the third inning when Steve Stunda led off with a single and advanced to second and third on a passed ball and wild pitch. Haase struck out Kris Knoblock, but hit Brown, who went to second on the wild pitch. That gave the Royals two runners in scoring position with one out.

Haase then settled down and struck out Scott and Low to end the threat. Clayton Kramer singled and was stranded for the Royals in the fourth, and Brown was hit by a pitch and left on the base in the fifth. Low doubled in the sixth, but was nailed trying to steal third base by catcher Bearhope. Haase then struck out four of the last five men he faced to complete his second shutout of the week.

Low had two hits for the Royals, while Kramer and Stunda had the only other hits for Eastern Hancock. Just one Royal runner reached third base against Haase in the game.

The line for Haase included just 105 pitches, four hits, 16 strike outs, no walks and two hit batsmen.

Ryan pitched a great game for the Royals, allowing just three runs on seven hits. He struck out 10, but made that one major mistake when he coughed up Bearhope’s three-run shot in the fourth inning.

Burchett and Haase both had two hits for the Panthers.

Knightstown 13, Eastern Hancock 3

The Royals actually led in this game early, 3-2. Knightstown had opened up a 2-0 lead when Blair and Kayajan both doubled and scored in the first inning.

Eastern Hancock bounced back in the top of the third by scoring three runs. Steve Stunda reached on an error and Austin Kramer drew a walk. They advanced to second and third base when Cacy Flood dropped a perfect sacrifice bunt. Brown grounded out to score Stunda and a single by Tyler Scott send Kramer home. Scott scored on a single by Jacob Low that spotted the Royals to a 3-2 lead.

Eastern Hancock scored three times on two hits in the inning, although just one of the runs was earned. At that point it looked like Panther pitcher Zach Burchett was in trouble, but he quickly proved otherwise. Burchett allowed just one hit the rest of the game.

Knightstown turned the game around starting in the third inning, scoring 11 unanswered runs after facing that 3-2 deficit. Chad Oakes and Travis Titus both drew walks, and Levi Blair sent them both home with a two-run single in the bottom of the third. Blair scored on a single by Jared Kayajan and Knightstown never looked back.

The Panthers scored six times in the bottom of the fourth inning to take an 11-3 lead. Bearhope, who had two hits in the inning, started things off with a single. That launched a flurry of Panther hits in the frame, including those from Trey McColley, Blair, and a two-RBI double by Haase.

Knightstown ended the game due to the 10-run rule when Bearhope blasted a double that scored Haase and Kayajan in the bottom of the sixth.

The Panthers crushed the ball with 14 hits in the game. Bearhope was 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Lead-off man Blair finished 3-for-5 with three runs scored and three more batted in. Kayajan was 3-for-3, scored twice and drove home two runners. Haase went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Oakes scored twice.

Except for that bad third inning, Burchett was in complete control of the game. After the Royals scored their three runs, Burchett retired the last eight men he faced and nine of the last 10. He allowed just three hits, struck out five, didn’t walk anyone and hit one batter. Just one of the three Eastern Hancock runs was earned, although the Panthers were charged with just one error in the double-header.


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