Panthers squeeze past Mustangs, 2-1
By Caleb Adams
WEST ORANGE – The West Orange-Stark Mustangs fell to the Anahuac Panthers 2-1 at Ronnie Anderson Park in West Orange on Friday night in the Orange County Classic Tournament.
Both teams would battle defensively back and forth for the early stages of the game. Multiple great defensive plays from the Mustangs and Panthers kept this game tied up at 0-0 for the first six innings until the Mustangs finally found the first run.
Justin Veitch for the Mustangs and Cameron Edmonds for the Panthers, were having great outings and were able to have quick innings and give their respective teams a chance to find some runs on offense, but that would be easier said than done.
The Mustangs wouldn’t find their first baserunner till the bottom of the fourth, and that came from a hit by pitch. Both pitchers would enter the sixth inning with just under sixty pitches, each making quick work of the opposing offense. Edmonds would end up with the win, but Veitch’s performance was a big reason the Mustangs had a shot in this game.
Veitch would go the distance for the Mustangs, allowing four hits, two runs, five strikeouts, a walk on 88 pitches. Veitch was able to keep the Panthers guessing and on their backfoot at the plate until the seventh inning, where the Panthers were able to slightly figure him out.
The Mustangs found the game’s first run in the bottom of the sixth inning thanks to the top of the lineup. Jacob Dominguez would get on with a leadoff single, William Robles followed up with a grounder to the left side of the infield, and Dominguez would advance to third on the play. Veitch came up and belted one to center to drive in Dominguez on the play. That’s all the Mustangs would find, but they captured a crucial late game lead heading into the seventh inning up 1-0 over the Panthers.
The Panthers wouldn’t go down that easily as they got a late game offensive surge in the seventh inning. Ramon Villegas led off with a single and got moved over to second thanks to a sacrifice bunt from Wyatt Gates. Brian McDaniel followed up with a single of his own to put runners on the corners with just one out. Foster Kreuzer hit a hard grounder and scored Villegas from third to tie the game. On an untimely balk Kreuzer was able to walk home for the second run of the inning as the Panthers took a late 2-1 lead over the Mustangs.
The seventh inning surge for the Panthers would be enough to take the win over the Mustangs in dramatic fashion. The Mustangs have a lot to be proud of from this game, but just fell short of taking home the win at home.