Panthers plate seven but fall one run short in offensive barrage
May 04, 2005 - After winning five of their last six games, the Mehville Senior High baseball team found itself on the short end of an 8-7 slugfest with conference rival Northwest last Wednesday.
"I think that anyone that's played them (Northwest) this year would say that they hit the ball well," Mehlville head coach Jim Kern told the Call. "They're a good team and they know that they're going to have to out-hit people in order to win."
Mehlville (10-6, 2-2 Suburban West) and Northwest combined for 15 runs on 26 hits, but the Lions got the edge, beating the visiting Panthers 8-7.
Mehlville starting pitcher Mike Zeller threw a solid three innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits. Zeller struck out five and walked three in his second loss of the season.
The Panther starter was credited with a no-decision and is 3-2 overall with a 4.00 earned run average.
"Mike went in and looked extremely good in the first inning," Kern said. "He didn't throw one of his better games, but he threw well enough for us to compete."
Zeller left the game after pulling a muscle in the third.
"Mike ended up hurting himself at the end of the third inning with a pulled muscle in his leg/hip area," Kern said. "Right now he's probably going to be day-to-day."
Junior Derek Hibdon came on for a three-inning relief appearance that included two runs on five hits. Hibdon took his first loss of the season after walking three and striking out one. He's 1-1 overall with a 4.59 earned run average.
"Derek has done a great job for us in the role we've put him in," Kern said. "He's played a specialist's role for us where he comes in for an inning or two. Overall he gave us an opportunity to win."
Mehlville shortstop Steve Braun was hot at the plate for the Panthers with a 2-3 performance with two runs scored and two runs batted in. The junior infielder is batting .451 with two home runs and 19 runs batted in.
"I would put him as one of the better ball players in the history of Mehlville High School," Kern said. "He's considered by many as the best defensive shortstop in the area."
The Panthers Tony Maus also had a solid afternoon offensively, knocking in two runs and scoring another on two hits in four plate appearances. The senior first baseman is batting a solid .405 with 15 runs batted in.
"Tony is an outstanding baseball player," Kern said. "He's successful against any type of pitcher. For the past couple of weeks, he's been averaging two hits a game for us."
Mehlville welcomes Parkway North for the first round of the Suburban South/West Conference tournament at 4:15 p.m. Wed-nesday, May 4.
"I think that with the 17 teams in the tournament, it will be one of the premier tournaments in the area," Kern said.