Kuhnel gem lifts Panthers past Jefferson Saints, 10-1 | SkyHiNews.com

Kuhnel gem lifts Panthers past Jefferson Saints, 10-1

Middle Park High Junior Turner Bjerken digs into the dirt as he takes off from home plate after connecting with a pitch in a game against the Clear Creek Golddiggers last season.
Lance Maggart / Sky-Hi News |

The Middle Park Panthers had a split week on the baseball diamond, losing to the Lyons Lions on Thursday, 8-3, before bouncing back against the Jefferson Saints on Friday, 10-1. The Panthers moved to 2-3 on the season, and will get a long break before their next game in April.

Senior Kyger Mintken got the start in the Thursday game, but struggled to navigate the Lions’ lineup, allowing seven runs (three earned) on eight hits and a walk in two innings. Junior Aidan Roubidoux allowed one run on two hits, a walk and a strikeout. Sophomore Vinny Troccolo tossed two shutout innings with a walk and two Ks.

On the other side of the ball the offense struggled to break through against Lyons starter Brandon Sanders, who allowed only four base runners in a complete game, and whiffed 10 Panthers. Sophomore Gabe Loberg had a day at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a triple, run and RBI. Junior Tuner Bjerken went 1-for-3 with a run.

The Panthers looked a lot better on Friday. Junior Ben Kuhnel got the nod at starter, and rebounded from a rough first outing where he gave up three earned runs in two innings. This time around Kuhnel was sharp, striking out 10 and allowing just one unearned run, three hits and three walks in a complete game.

The bats also woke up on Friday. Senior Boston Gleich went 3-for-5 with a home run, two runs and two RBI. Senior Sam Colley went 2-for-2 with three runs, Kuhnel went 1-for-3 with a homer, Mintken went 1-for-2 with a double and a run.

Through five games Gleich is raking to the tune of a .500/.526/.666/ slash line. His 1.193 leads the team by a mile in the early going, and he’s one of just four players on the team with an extra base hit.

The Panthers get a long break until they take on the DSST: Stapleton Knights at home on April 11, a team that looks very beatable on paper. The Knights are 1-4, and have struggled to put up runs. They’re batting .239 as a team, same as Middle Park, but average more than a run less on a per-game-basis.

After that the Panthers go back on the road for a matchup against the 2-2 Clear Creek Golddiggers on April 12.

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