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Maxwell defense gloves doubleheader win
Defense saved the day for the Maxwell High baseball team against a scrappy Liberty Christian squad in the first game of a doubleheader Friday.
Sophomore shortstop Riley deWit scooped up a ground ball and made a strong throw home to prevent a run from scoring with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the fifth inning to preserve a 3-1 lead. Left-handed pitcher Zach Troughton escaped the jam with a strikeout to end the game.
Maxwell (9-1, 3-0 Five Star) hosted the doubleheader but played the five-inning first game as the visitors, because the teams were making up a postponed game from earlier in the season against their Five Star League opponents.
Troughton and Patriots' pitcher Travis Dankson kept the offenses off balance for most of the game but the Panthers defense proved to be the difference.
"Our defense was key, I told them if we can stop them from scoring that's going to help us win. We only scored three runs today not 13, so our defense is what's going to help us win," said Maxwell coach Nate Manor.
Liberty hit into seven ground-ball outs and four fly-ball outs, including a double play on a line drive to Bryce Perry at second base, who threw behind the runner in the second inning. Troughton struck out three and allowed three hits and three walks in five innings of work for the win.
"With these kind of teams we can't just sit back on our heels so I kind of expected them to come to battle just because of our (recent success)," Manor said.
Dankson struck out six Maxwell hitters in five innings and allowed just three hits, two to Panthers catcher Blake Vierra, but the Patriots committed three errors.
Vierra gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning with a double off the left field fence that scored Perry from second base.
"(Dankson's) change-up was good working away, his curveball inside was working good and he was using his fastball inside and outside," Vierra said.
Maxwell added another run in the third inning without the help of a hit. Dankson opened the inning with back-to-back strikeouts but struggled to get the final out of the inning. A walk, error and hit batter loaded the bases before David Lee picked up an RBI the easy way with a walk, before Dankson escaped the inning with a strikeout.
Ryan Dunken walked, moved to third base on two wild pitches and scored on a ground out by Nick Feuillardet in the bottom of the third for Liberty's only run.
The Panthers manufactured a run in the fifth with a perfectly executed suicide squeeze. Vierra led off the inning with a single, stole second and moved to third on a ground out to Dankson, before deWit laid down a bunt with Vierra sprinting toward the plate.
Maxwell 20, Liberty Christian 10
After a pitchers duel in the first game, both offenses teed off in the second game. The Panthers fell behind 8-2 before roaring back for a 20-10 victory.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.