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by Mark Cheffey
The PHS boys baseball team blew away the competition for the Class 3, Distict 7 championship Friday in Flower City Park.
Rain ended up compacting the tournament into a two-day event, and the Panthers (17-8) played a double header, beating Highland and Monroe City by a collective score of 26-0 to advance to sectionals.
The Panthers are hoping to move on to the quarter finals Thursday when they host Father Tolton Regional Catholic (13-5) out of Columbia Tuesday.
The winner of Tuesdays’ game was to play the winner of Tuesday’s sectional between Elsberry (15-6) and Maplewood Richmond Heights (11-11).
Results of the contest were not available for this issue.
Palmyra notched its 12th district title this century with a 15-0 win over Monroe City in four-inning championship game.
Hot bats and strong pitching by Bennett Stice made sure of the outcome early.
Wade Begley’s two-round home run powered the Panthers’ four-run first inning.
And Stice responded by striking out nine for all nine outs in the three innings he pitched while walking one, hitting one batter and giving up two singles.
Stice, like the rest of the team, had to shake off a two-week layoff.
“I struggled a little bit, trying to find the zone, but I kept going and did the job,” Stice said.
Landyn Smith pitched a flawless fourth inning in relief of Stice.
Palmyra went into the bottom of the fourth up 5-0 and ended the game early with 10 runs.
Nolyn Richards blasted a line-drive home run over the fence in center for two of the runs, and ended the game later in the inning with a bases loaded single.
With his trade-mark humor, Begley said he was glad to take a lot of the drama out of the game with his first-inning home run, despite the drama from the day before.
“It felt great, but I was dealing with the death of a fish yesterday, and it felt good to come out and hit a home run,” he said, with a straight face.
Passing away was Arthur, a red beta fish he had for just one day.
Third-seeded Monroe City advanced to the title game with a 7-5 upset win over second-seeded Clark County.
Coach Mark Loman was pleased with how his team handled the layoff and put themselves in a good place heading into the playoffs.
“We obviously wanted to play the sooner the better, just to hold pitchers back, but we’re set where we want to be, and it’s a tribute to these guys scoring runs and throwing strikes,” Loman said.
The tournament started Thursday evening when fifth-seeded Highland upset fourth-seeded Mark Twain 5-4.
The Panthers then dispatched of the Cougars, 11-0, in Friday’s first game.
Palmyra scored three in the first, three more in the second and five in the fourth to back Adam Goodwin, who pitched all five innings for a two-hit shutout. The senior right-hander struck out 12 and walked two.