The PHS varsity baseball team defeated Macon 4-1 last Tuesday to win the District title game and beat Highland 16-1 Monday in the district semifinal game.
“It feels great to be back out there and accomplishing something Palmyra is known for,” said Jacob Kroeger after winning the district title game Tuesday.
“It feels great, especially coming off last year,” said Nolan Wosman after being asked about how it felt winning districts after losing to Clark County in the title game last year.
“I think we are ready to get to that next game. If we are playing our best baseball, we can definitely make it there,” he said about reaching state.
Palmyra (22-4) gave up three hits in the first inning that allowed Macon to score one run, but Palmyra’s Bennett Stice stepped up and pitched a solid next five innings. Stice held Macon to only two more hits in innings 2-6. He also struck out five batters and sent down 14 of the 17 batters he faced.
“He got better as he went along, and that’s kind of what he has been doing all year,” said Coach Mark Loman when asked about Stice’s pitching.
“I just started hitting a lot of first pitch strikes and started working on my slider and curve a lot more,” said Stice about his last five innings.
“I have a history of not doing as good in the first inning,” he said.
“At the beginning of the game, you could tell he was nervous,” said Brady Barnett about Stice’s pitching.
“And I think for him, all year long, it’s been a matter of him getting into a rhythm, and to just trust what I’m putting down,” he said.
“If he’s thinking less, he’s throwing better.”
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning after a RBI single, but Stice’s pitching became an asset for Palmyra throughout the rest of the game. Palmyra was scoreless until the bottom of the third. Wosman and Barnett were both hit-by-pitches and Kroeger capitalized by hitting a RBI single to tie the game at 1-1. Stice had no problems in the fourth, fifth and sixth inning while keeping Macon scoreless. In the bottom of the sixth, Wosman drove in a run to bring the score to 2-1. As the next batter up, Barnett had an RBI single to increase the lead to two runs. Wosman scored the last run of the night on a wild pitch by Macon. Caden Power came in to relieve Stice and retired three batters in a row in the top of the seventh to win 4-1.
Palmyra’s bats were hot Monday night leading the Panthers to a 16-1 victory over Highland.
The Panthers allowed a Highland run in the first inning but quickly took control of the game after that.
The Cougars scored an early run in the first with a RBI double but Corder Lehenbauer struck out three consecutive batters to end the inning. Palmyra came out red hot in the first inning by scoring five runs while having four base hits, three walks and a hit-by-pitch. Kroeger hit a three run double to put the Panthers up early. Lehenbauer struck out three consecutive batters again in the second inning. The Panthers had one hit in the bottom of the second and it was a solo home run by Barnett. Palmyra exploded in the third inning to score 10 runs. Palmyra had seven hits in the bottom of the third while also being walked twice. Dakota Compton, Mason Scholl and Peyton Abbott all had doubles. The exclamation mark in the third inning came from Wosman who hit a grand slam that extended the Palmyra lead to 11-1. Palmyra scored five more runs in the third to win the game 16-1.
Palmyra (22-4) took on the South Callaway Bulldogs (23-8) in Sectionals action Monday, May 20 at home. The winner of that game will face either Montgomery County (15-8) or Whitfield (9-6) in the Quarterfinal game May 22.
Other Class 3 baseball teams that reached Sectionals were Malden (15-14), Saxony Lutheran (20-3), West County (20-6), Valley Park (16-6)/Hancock (12-7), Fatima (12-14), Houston (16-9), Ava (17-5), Clever (15-11), Lamar (12-8), Blair Oaks (19-11), Summit Christian Academy (19-5), and Lawson (17-6).