The Mountain Grove Panthers’ baseball team are now back-to-back champions after they won the 10th Annual Southern Invitational this past weekend in Dora.
In the championship game, the Panthers scored two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to knock off Van Buren, 7-3. Carson Allen led the offense with two RBIs and one run scored; Kaden Richardson had two RBIs; Gatlin Keeling tallied one RBI and scored twice; while Drew Vaughan, Hoyt Mathews, Brylon Mayberry and Jaron Marsh each scored one run. Allen tossed five and a third innings on the mound and allowed one earned run on six hits with two strikeouts and three walks. Mathews tossed one and two-thirds innings of shutout ball and allowed one hit with one strikeout.
In the semifinals one day earlier, Mayberry hit a ball in the bottom of the seventh inning and reached base on an error that scored Vaughn for the winning run. Mountain Grove defeated Wright County foe Hartville, 2-1.
Richardson had one RBI while both Vaughan and Mayberry scored one run.
On the mound, Mayberry was lights out as he allowed no earned runs on two hits with eight strikeouts and six walks. Mathews tossed a scoreless inning and allowed no hits with one strikeout.
Hartville’s Payton Cogdill had one RBI while Grant Culver scored one run. Asher Lanham tossed six and a third innings on the mound for the Eagles and allowed one earned run on five hits with four strikeouts and five walks.
In the first round, Mountain Grove scored 16 runs in the bottom of the first inning as the Panthers took advantage of eight Chadwick errors in an 18-0 win for the Panthers. Keeling had two hits, four RBIs and one run scored; Brayden Haughey added three hits, three RBIs and three runs scored; Richardson tallied three RBIs and three runs scored; both Dom Palagi, Mathews and Allen had two RBIs and two runs scored; Vaughan had one RBI and scored twice; Mayberry scored two runs; and Preston Williams scored one run. Two Panthers’ pitchers combined to toss a perfect game. Williams tossed two innings of no hit, shutout ball and had six strikeouts. Haughey tossed one scoreless and hitless inning and had three strikeouts. Neither pitcher issued a walk in the win.
Before the tournament, the Panthers remained undefeated in the South Central Association (SCA) Conference with a 12-1 victory over Willow Springs. It was a banner day for Mathews. He played Earl Weaver baseball, hitting a pair of three-run home runs. He would finish with seven RBIs and two runs scored. Keeling had one RBI and scored three runs; Vaughan scored three times; Garrett Hutsell had one RBI and scored one run; Palagi scored two runs; while Allen scored one run.
On the mound, Mathews tossed four innings and allowed one earned run on one hit with three strikeouts and two walks. Richardson tossed a shutout inning and allowed one hit.
Mountain Grove is now on a six game winning streak and now have a 15-6 record on the season.