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Raiders Knock Off Knightstown in County Tourney
May 21, 2008 - What was supposed to be an easy waltz to the Henry County baseball tournament title for the Knightstown Panthers turned out to be a game of musical chairs in which the Panthers were left with no place to sit.
After sweeping a doubleheader from Shenandoah this season 4-3 and 16-9, Knightstown figured to have few problems with getting by the Raiders in the first round of the annual county tournament. But Shenandoah played one of its best games of the season and knocked off the Panthers, 5-0.
The loss sent Knightstown into the loser’s bracket of the tourney, while the Raiders advanced to the final to play upstart Tri High, which had knocked off Blue River. The Raiders ended up losing to Tri in the final, while Knightstown rebounded to beat the Vikings 14-0 and claim third place.
The Panthers weren’t their usual selves against Shenandoah in the first tourney game. Coach Donnie Martin’s team had dropped consecutive games to Triton Central (17-5 on the year) and Cambridge City Lincoln. The Raiders handed the Panthers their third consecutive loss in surprising fashion.
Knightstown had hit Shenandoah pitching for 20 runs during the teams’ first two meetings. But Raider pitcher Clayton Phipps handcuffed the Panthers on just two hits, allowing a second inning single to Chad Oakes and a fifth inning single to Jared Kayajan. Knightstown left seven base runners stranded in the game, and Shenandoah, which had committed almost a comedy of errors in the doubleheader earlier this season, made just one miscue in this game and it cost them nothing.
The Raiders broke up a pitchers’ duel between Panther Joe Haase and Phipps in the fifth inning. They took a 1-0 lead when Jerrod Moore reached on a Panther error and scored on a ground out by Eric Krathwohl.
Through five innings, Haase had struck out four, allowed three hits and walked just one batter, but still trailed 1-0. Knightstown thwarted a Raider rally in the fourth inning when Brandon Barnell singled and Phipps hit into a 6-4-3 double play featuring Levi Blair, Drew Martin and Oakes.
Shenandoah scored four runs in the sixth inning, although they managed just one hit. Two hit batsmen and two Panther errors aided the Raider cause. The top four of Knightstown’s batting order, which hits nearly .500 collectively, went 0-for-11 in the game.
Knightstown and Shenandoah could meet for the fourth time this season next week. Both teams are in the Northeastern Sectional. The Panthers play Cambridge City Lincoln and Shenandoah battles Eastern Hancock. If the two teams meet again, it would be in the championship game since they are in opposite brackets.
Expecting to win the Henry County Tournament title, Knightstown was upset by Shenandoah in the first game 5-0. They took out the frustrations of that loss by pounding the Viking pitchers in a 14-0 thumping.
Jordan Bearhope was in control of the game on both the mound and at the plate. He pitched a two-hitter, striking out eight batters. At the plate, Bearhope singled, doubled and tripled, scoring three runs and driving home two more.
Trey McColley had one of his better games this season, going 4-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Lead-off man Brice Biehl went 3-for-6, while Kayajan, Haase and Oakes scored two runs apiece.
Still sore from that unexpected loss to the Raiders, Knightstown started off slowly against the Vikings. Although they plated three runs in the first inning, the Panthers led just 7-0 before exploding for seven runs in the seventh inning.
Haase got the team started in the first frame when he blasted a two-run homer over the left field fence that scored Kayajan. Bearhope singled and later scored when Drew Martin was walked with the bases full.
Despite scoring 14 runs, the Panthers nonetheless left 12 men on base in the game.
Knightstown hit the scoreboard for three more runs in the third when Oakes doubled, Rayburn Steinwachs drew a walk, and McColley sent both home with a line-drive single.
The first seven men in the Knightstown batting order reached base and scored in the seventh inning. Bearhope had a two-run double in the frame as the Panthers had five hits in the inning.
Knightstown has beaten Blue River twice this season, by scores of 13-0 and 14-0. In the first game, Haase pitched a no-hitter, and in the rematch, Bearhope allowed just two hits.
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