Smith tosses no-hitter, leads Panthers past Grizzlies
Sophomore Jacob Smith dazzled on the mound against the Bruce Randolph Grizzlies on Tuesday afternoon, tossing a five-inning no-hitter en route to a 26-0 Panthers win. Middle Park was scheduled for a double header Tuesday, but the Arrupe Jesuit Generals forfeited the game, lifting the Panthers to 8-6 on the season, and an impressive 7-2 against league opponents.
The Panthers took care of business against a less-than-stellar Bruce Randolph team that entered play sitting at 1-11. But the win was convincing, nonetheless. Starter Jacob Smith was nearly perfect in this one, allowing just a walk and striking out seven over five scoreless innings (the CHSAA mercy rule kicks in after five innings if either team is winning by 10). Smith needed just 39 pitches to finish the game.
Smith lowered his ERA to a miniscule 1.40 on the year, and recorded his second win. He sports a solid 32:14 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and has allowed just six earned runs in a team-leading 30 innings pitched on the year.
While Smith’s pitching performance is the story of the game, the Panther’s bats were equally impressive. Middle Park saw an incredible 50 plate appearances in just five innings, and recorded 18 hits. Thirteen players hit safely in the game, and 15 reached safely.
Junior Turner Bjerken led the charge, going 2-3 with his third homerun of the season, four runs scored and three RBI. Senior Sam Colley went 2-4 with three runs and three RBI. Sophomore Gabe Loberg went 2-5 with three runs and three RBI. Sophomore Sebastian Brower went 2-4 with two runs and two RBI. Sophomore James Gallegos went 2-4 with two runs, Sophomore Vinny Troccolo went 1-3 with a run and two RBI, and Jacob Smith went 1-5 with three runs and a RBI.
Bjerken continues to stay hot at the plate. He’s slashing .457/.500/.760 with a team high 1.261 OPS on the season. He’s also leading the team in hits (21), runs (20), home runs (3) and extra base hits (7). Junior Ben Kuhnel has also been phenomenal with a .341/.491/.560 line and five extra base hits this year. Senior Sam Colley is slashing .308/.417/.512 and is leading the team in RBI (15).
The Panthers face a busy schedule to close out the week, heading to Estes Park to take on the 0-17 Bobcats on Thursday, before returning home to take on the 12-3 Academy Wildcats on Friday. On Saturday the Panthers head to Peak to Peak for a double header against the 13-4 Sterling Tigers and the 11-5 Peak to Peak Pumas. They’ll get a home game against the 6-6 Moffat County Bulldogs to close out the regular season on May 8.
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