Newberry Baseball Defeats Williston For First Win of the Season

By: Gabriela Vitale and Ellie Shreve

The 1A defending state champion Newberry Panthers defeated the Williston Red Devils 12-7 on Tuesday night to pick up their first win of the season.  Newberry opened this season on a slow 0-2 start but bounced back in conference play with this win. 

The Panthers gather around seconds before the first pitch. Photo by Ellie Shreve.

A Solid Starting Pitcher

Senior Mason Tomchak was on the mound for the Panthers Tuesday night. Tomchak was in complete control of the game the first two innings, going three-up-three-down to start his team off.

The Panther offense came out hot in the first inning with good plate discipline as the first two hitters drew walks.  A Williston throwing error gave the Panthers a run and a bases loaded walk later drove in another run.   

Williston answered in the third inning, taking advantage of a leadoff hit by pitch. A double advanced the runner to put two Red Devils in scoring position. Williston earned back one run on a hard-hit ball to the first baseman after the throw home was too late. The Panthers left two runners stranded in the bottom of the third, after a hit batter and Landon Gruenwald’s single to center field. Newberry remained in the lead 2-1 after the third inning.

Newberry Capitalizing on Mistakes

Tomchak did his job on the mound and the Newberry offense helped his cause.  

Pictured: Senior Mason Tomchak pitches for the Panthers. Photo by Ellie Shreve.

In the fourth inning, after loading the bases on a trio of walks, Zachary Cetin cleared the bases with a double to extend the Panthers lead 5-1. With two runners in scoring position, Braxton Brady stole home to end the inning with Newberry on top 6-1. 

Pictured: Braxton Brady (2) on third base at the bottom of the fourth inning. Photo by Ellie Shreve.

As Tomchak’s pitch count started to rise in the sixth, Williston started seeing his pitches better as they had back-to-back hits to put  runners on first and third. The third hit of the inning scored a Red Devils run and another run was added by an error by the Panthers. Newberry got out of the inning only allowing two runs to set the score at 6-3. 

Never Enough Insurance Runs

The Panthers broke open in the bottom of the sixth inning, adding six more insurance runs. Newberry got a runner on after a late throw to first on a dropped third strike. After a walk and a hit batter that loaded the bases, two HBP to load the bases, Gruenwald brought home two and traded places with his teammates advancing two runners into scoring position.

Jackson McDavid scored the next run on an RBI ground out to make the score 9-3. The next two runners got on base to load the bases again, and Jayden Holcombe walked to bring in another runner. Cetin came up to the plate next and blasted a two-run RBI double to extend the Panther lead to 12-3. 

Pictured: Zachary Cetin (15) at bat for the Panthers. Photo by Ellie Shreve.

The last inning was rocky for the Panthers as they struggled to make defensive plays all game and continued to do so in the seventh inning. A hit batter and an error gave the Red Devils another base runner and a single loaded the bases for Williston.

Tomchak could have ended the game, but an error was made behind him at third and his pitch count continued to rise. A bases loaded double ended his night on the mound and with the score 12-7, Cetin relieved and finished the game with a strikeout, helping Newberry win its first game of the season. 

A Look Ahead

Newberry Head Coach Mike Spina comments on the team’s performance against the Red Devils and their focus moving forward.

The Newberry Panthers are now (1-2) on the season and (1-0) in conference play. They look ahead to Thursday’s home non-district game against Chiefland at 7 p.m.

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