MT. PLEASANT — It wasn’t a fun night to be in the maroon and gold on Monday at Mapleleaf Athletic Complex. The Mt. Pleasant baseball team dropped two Southeast Conference games to Burlington, falling 5-1 and 9-2 after coming into the night 4-0 in conference play. The loss bounced the Panthers from the top line in the SEC and shook up the SEC race with just four games remaining.
The first inning was an bad omen for the Panthers. Burlington scored a two-out run in their half of the opening inning and Mt. Pleasant squandered a huge chance. The Panthers loaded the bases with nobody out but Burlington starter Brock Dengler wiggled out of the jam. Nik Coble popped up for the first out and Jaxon Hoyle flew into a 9-2 double play when the Burlington right fielder gunned Corbin Broeker out at home to end the threat.
The Panthers would squander every opportunity in the first game, aside from one RBI single from Jaxon Hoyle in the fourth. Hoyle tied the game in the fourth inning and it was 1-1 through four.
Burlington took the lead back on an RBI single in the fifth. Then, after holding the Panthers in the fifth and sixth innings, the Grayhounds picked up three insurance runs in the top of the seventh, all unearned.
Mt. Pleasant had its first lead of the night when Rylan Seberg scampered home on a wild pitch in the bottom of the third. Burlington, however, struck back with the next eight runs of the ballgame, collecting them all between the fourth and sixth innings. After a three-run top of the sixth, the Grayhounds held a commanding 8-1 lead.
As they did all night, the Panthers put up another threat in the bottom of the sixth inning. Mt. Pleasant had the bases loaded with one out, and did score one run when Jack Johnson dashed home on another Grayhound wild pitch, but the Panthers would strand the bases loaded and stifle any hopes of a comeback.
Burlington added one run in the top of the seventh to stretch its lead to 9-2. The first two batters of the Panther seventh reached base, but the Grayhounds got out of yet another jam and went home with two conference wins.
Broeker took the loss in Game 1 after relieving Coble. He gave up four runs, but only one of them was earned. Hoyle started Game 2 and took the loss. Clayton Lowery and Johnson each appeared on the mound in the second contest.
“After playing so well last Thursday, we just didn’t get hits at opportune times when we had guys in scoring position,” head coach Brent Broeker said after the game. “We made a few errors at key times. I think we ended up giving up three unearned runs in Game 1, and five in Game 2. When you give a good team like that too many runs, it’s hard to come back.”
Mt. Pleasant fell to 3-3 overall and 4-2 in conference play with the two losses. They’ll hit the road to take on first-place Ft. Madison on Thursday. The Bloodhounds sit at 6-0 in the conference. Burlington is now in second place, at 3-1, and the Panthers sit in third.