Dyer’s bat, Thompson’s arm pave the way for success
By Erik Walsh
Monitor Staff Writer
VAN–The Mabank Panthers baseball team crushed the district rival Van Vandals 6-1 March 29 in Van.
Mabank was led by Corey Dyer and Cody Thompson. Dyer hit two for three with three RBIs and a run scored and Thompson pitched six innings and allowed only one hit.
Mabank got its offense going early on, as Adam Penix led off the game with a bunt single. Colt Conway reached first base on the next at bat after a fielder’s choice got Van the first out of the inning. Conway made the most of getting the lead runner out by stealing second base. Kaleb Mandeville followed the steal up with a ground ball single into right field that advanced Conway to third base. After the single, Mabank had runners at the corners with only one out. Mabank kept the pressure on and avoided the double play situation and Mandeville stole second base. In the ensuing confusion on the second base steal, Conway was able to cross home plate from third base to make the score 1-0 Mabank. An errand pitch hit Ty Winkelvoss in the following at bat to put runners on first and second base with still only one out. The Panthers looked to keep pushing their advantage and executed a successful double steal. Corey Dyer was up at bat next and made his only out of the night when he made contact, producing a ground ball that allowed Mandeville to score from third and advance Winkelvoss. Nathan Henderson struck out swinging to end the inning and the Mabank threat. The Panthers led 2-0.
Van answered back in the bottom of the inning with their only run of the game. Thompson worked his way out of a jam with Van runners on second and third and only one out by forcing a pair of ground balls. The first one scored a Van run and the second ended the inning. Mabank led 2-1.
The second inning saw no runs added to Mabank’s score, but the Panthers doubled their run production in the third. Mabank produced the runs by drawing walks, stealing bases and gaining one key hit. Penix led off the inning with a walk and took first base. Penix showed his speed on the base paths by stealing second and third base before Conway struck out looking for Mabank’s first out. Mandeville walked to gain first base and stole second to avoid the double play. After Winkelvoss got the second out of the inning, the Panthers offense rested in the capable hands of Dyer. Dyer came up big, hitting a ground ball single that scored Penix from third base and Mandeville from second. That’s all the offense Mabank would produce in the third inning. The Panthers led 4-1.
The fourth and fifth innings of play were largely a pitcher’s duel with only one hit among both teams in that span. The lone hit was by Van, and Mabank’s Thompson managed to force a double play to get him off the bases in the fourth. Thompson produced three more ground ball outs in the fifth inning. Mabank continued its trend of scoring two runs in successful offensive innings when Dyer got things going with an outfield single with one out in the sixth. After the Van pitcher threw a passed ball, Dyer advanced to second base. Henderson reached first base after a dropped third strike allowed him to scamper down the first base line. Dyer advanced to third on the play. Next up, Parker Johanneson tricked the defense with a bunt single that scored Dyer and advanced Henderson to make the score 5-1. After Thompson struck out swinging, Pearson Johannesen doubled by hitting a fly ball to centerfield to score Henderson. Mabank led 6-1 and the inning ended at the next at bat.
Thompson got three more ground ball outs in his final two innings of work to claim the win for the Panthers. He wasn’t flashy on the mound (with only one strikeout in seven innings pitched), but was highly effective at keeping the ball in the infield and runners out of scoring position. Overall Thompson allowed six hits, one run and walked four.
Offensively, Penix had one run and one hit, Conway scored one run and Mandeville scored two runs on two hits. Johanneson and Johannesen had an RBI each.
Mabank is back in action April 8 when they host Brownsboro at 6:30 p.m.