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 Bearhope-Beihl Battery Bombards Bulldogs

April 30, 2008 - After suffering through a three-game tailspin earlier in the week against a larger school schedule, the Knightstown Panther baseball team was in need of some fireworks. They got just that Saturday during a doubleheader sweep of the hapless Lapel Bulldogs.

Senior Jordan Bearhope and junior Brice Biehl combined for 13 hits, 14 RBIs and 12 runs in the twinbill, leading the Panthers to a 23-5 and 11-6 sweep of the Bulldogs. The wins not only ended a three-game skid for Knightstown, but improved the team to 6-0 in the White River Athletic Conference race. The Panthers have also swept Eastern Hancock and Shenandoah this season.

Only Wes-Del remains on the WRAC schedule and Knightstown hosts the Warriors this Saturday in another twinbill.

Coach Donnie Martin’s team had been struggling through a rough week against a brutal schedule. Knightstown played three larger schools in New Castle (4A), Greenfield-Central (4A) and Rushville (3A), and fell all three times. After flying high with a 6-1 start and a six-game winning streak, the Panthers were looking at a 6-4 record and the potential for a crash landing.

Bearhope and Biehl almost single-handedly prevented that Saturday. Bearhope went 4-for-5 with four runs and two RBIs in the first game. He followed that up with a 2-for-2 second game, scoring twice and driving home five runners. He also slammed a three-run homer.

Biehl went 5-for-5 in the opener, driving in five runners and scoring three times in the blowout. He followed that up with a 2-for-4, three-run and two-RBI second game, including an inside-the-park home run. Bearhope finished with a 6-for-7 day, seven RBIs and six runs, while Biehl left the field after hitting 7-for-9, with seven-RBIs and six runs.

Lapel was playing for the first time on its brand new baseball diamond, and the doubleheader against a fired-up Knightstown couldn’t have come at a worst time. Bearhope pitched the five-inning contest by allowing just six hits. Lapel got four of its five runs in the final inning when play got sloppy after the Panthers had opened up a 23-1 lead.

The final margin in this one could have been much worse. During an 11-run fourth inning, Martin was holding his runners during passed balls and long hits to the outfield. Several Panthers could easily have scored, but the Panther coach saw no reason to pour salt into the Bulldog wounds.

Knightstown struck for four runs in each of the first two innings, scored two in the third, and then 11 in the fourth. Nine different players hit safely in the game, and six had multiple hits.

Biehl had four singles and a double in his perfect day. He also hit a single in his first at-bat in the second game, and had a single in his last at-bat in the previous game against Greenfield-Central. In that stretch over three games, Biehl had hit safely seven consecutive times to the plate.

He also drove in five runners and scored three times in the opener.

Bearhope was in control of the Bulldog hitters and had allowed just one run in the third inning, enjoying a 23-1 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth. That’s when Lapel managed four runs, getting just two hits, but taking advantage of two hit batsmen, two walks, an error and four passed balls.

Offensively, Bearhope bit the Bulldogs with his bat. He belted three doubles and a single, scoring four runs.

Senior Rayburn Steinwachs also had a great first game in the twinbill, going 3-for-3 with five RBIs and two runs scored. Steinwachs reached base safely all five times he came to the plate.

Senior Trey McColley also had an impressive day, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs and scoring two runs. Chad Oakes had two hits, scored four times and drove home four runners. Senior Joe Haase went 2-for-5 with three runs and two RBIs and as a team the Panthers hit .553 in the game.

Knightstown took a 10-0 lead before Lapel could answer with a single run in the third inning. Then the Panthers blew the game wide open by scoring 11 times in the fourth frame, sending 16 hitters to the plate. In the game, Knightstown left 11 runners on base, including six in the last two innings when Martin refused to run the score up any higher.

 

Knightstown completed the second game of the twinbill, winning 11-6. In the two games, the Panthers scored 34 runs, had 31 hits and finished with 28 RBIs. Again, it was Bearhope and Biehl supplying the majority of the fireworks after Lapel decided there would be no repeat of the first game blowout.

The Bulldogs stayed in the game and managed to tie the contest up at 4-4 heading into the bottom of the fourth. Knightstown had another big frame that put a little distance between the two teams.

McColley got things started in the fourth with a walk and Travis Titus followed with a single. Biehl reached on a fielder’s choice that scored McColley and Jared Kayajan followed with a single.

The second baseman couldn’t handle a monster shot by Haase that scored Biehl, enabling the Panthers to take a 6-4 lead. Bearhope then connected on a long blast over the centerfield fence for a three-run homer.

Knightstown added two more runs in the sixth inning. Biehl got things started with an inside-the-park home run into right-centerfield. After another Bearhope double, Zach Burchett singled him home to cap the Panther scoring.

Bearhope and Biehl drove in seven of the Knightstown runs in the game.

The sweep put the Panthers alone at the top of the WRAC standings and the team will complete conference play this Saturday against Wes-Del. The schedule originally had the teams playing the game at Wes-Del, but those two games have been moved to Knightstown.

The first game against the Warriors will begin at 10 a.m. The results of the Panther game against Liberty Christian Tuesday night were too late for this issue of The Banner.

 

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