By Mathew Brock

Pilot Sports Writer

The Panthers finally made their way to Brookings this Wednesday after their first scheduled game against the Bruins on March 15 was moved due to rainy weather. The 4A Bruins took a 3-0 victory over the 2A/1A Panthers, but not without playing one of their closest games this year.

At 5-3 overall, the Bruins are currently sitting at rank No. 22 in the OSAA 4A rankings. The Panthers began their league season with a loss against Bandon on Tuesday, putting them at 0-1 in the SD5 Special District tied with Toledo and Myrtle Point. The Panthers are currently 1-6 overall at rank No. 36 in the OSAA 2A rankings.

The Bruins took an early lead by snagging a single run in the first, but the next four innings saw no gains for either side before going into the sixth. The Bruins managed to grab two runs in the sixth, putting them ahead 3-0 going into the seventh where the Panthers struck out without making any gains.

According to Bruins Coach Keith Wallin, the Panthers put them in a few tight situations this game, which gave the Bruins an opportunity to pull themselves out.

The Panthers nearly scored in the first with Alex Carpenter getting to third base after a double getting moved by Tandy Martin, but ended up stranded at third as the Bruins pitcher struck out the following batters. The Panthers managed to get runners on third and second in the fifth with no outs, but were once again were shut down by the Bruins without making a run.

“When they’ve got people on the plates with no runs and we’re able to get out of that situation, that’s a good experience for us,” Wallin said. “We’ve got to keep going, getting better and just learn from every opportunity we can.”

Coach Mark Hollinger of the Panthers was happy with Wednesday’s game and how close the Panthers were able to keep things against a team like Brookings.

“We played two very good teams in a row and the games have been right there,” Hollinger said. “We were pretty evenly matched, but in the end we just had trouble finding the strike zone.”

Both teams plans to buckle down on their fundamentals as they go into the start of league play next week.

The Bruins travelled to North Valley on Friday to play the Knights for a double-header in their final non-league games of the season. The Bruins then begin league play on Monday when they travel to Douglas to play their first game against the Trojans at 5 p.m. They then host the Trojans for a double-header next Friday starting at 2:30 p.m.

The Panthers travelled to Silitz to play the Warriors on Friday in their second league game of the season and head to Neah-Kah-Nea today to play the Pirates in a non-league double-header starting at 11 a.m. They’ll the return to league play on Thursday when the host the Waldport Irish at 4:30 p.m.