Balanced Panthers demolish Braves 13-0

Apr. 17—SAEGERTOWN — With a balanced blend of good pitching, solid defense and opportunistic base running, the Saegertown Panthers defeated Iroquois 13-0 on Wednesday.

Panthers ace Blake Burchill set the tone early. He retired three straight batters and gave his team momentum heading to the plate in the Region 3 battle at Ed Acker American Legion Baseball Field.

An RBI single from Burchill scored Everett Gardner with no outs to give Saegertown a 1-0 advantage. Wyatt Burchill and Blake Burchill added runs in the inning for a 3-0 lead.

In the bottom of the third, Saegertown went to work. The Panthers, powered by two singles, a hit by pitch, a walk and an error, led 6-0 before the first out of the inning. The out came from a Jon Grundy sacrifice fly that brought Blake Leslie home.

"We kinda went back to school after the Cochranton game. We didn't play very well there and had pretty bad approaches," Saegertown head coach Nick Leslie said. "We changed that and leading into last week and this week I thought our approaches at the plate were really good. We worked on hitting the ball the other way, waiting for pitches and we were aggressive on the bases. We took care of business."

Saegertown was aggresive on the base paths with eight stolen bases on the day. Between the steals and five Iroquois errors, the Panthers were able to pad their lead. When the inning was all said and done, the Panthers led 13-0.

In the top of the fifth needing three outs to clinch a mercy-rule victory, DeMarcus Manning entered as the pitcher for Saegertown. He struck out three of four batters to send the Braves home.

Blake Burchill fanned six batters across four innings. Each pitcher allowed one hit on the day.

When Iroquois did connect with a ball, Saegertown's defense cleaned it up. Shortstop Blake Leslie and second baseman Gardner made the routine plays and kept the Braves off the base paths.

"The pitching has been really good all year. It's been our key to success. Defensively, we've been up and down," Leslie said. "We've lived with some freshmen moments. The shortstop is a freshman, the second baseman is a sophomore. So there are some ups and downs we've had, but we're starting to clean it up a little bit and hopefully we can move this toward the tail end of this season."

Offensively, Blake Burchill and Luke Young each had two hits. Blake Burchill scored three runs while Wyatt Burchill, William Shaffer and Leslie each scored two. Shaffer and Leslie each added two RBIs.

The win brought Saegertown to 6-1 overall and 5-1 in region action. The Panthers are scheduled to host Eisenhower on Friday for senior night and play PENNCREST rival Cambridge Springs on Saegertown. The Panthers sit a half of a game back from the region lead, not that Leslie is looking ahead.

"We take one day at a time. We look at trying to get better each day by just one percent," Leslie said. "We talk about it all the time. We're not looking at the end of the year. We're looking at the next games. We'll take it one pitch at a time."


Iroquois (0)

(AB-R-H-BI) E. Alderson 2-0-0-0, Brown 2-0-0-0, H. Alderson 2-0-0-0, Bennett 2-0-0-0, Theiss 2-0-0-0, Lewis 2-0-0-0, Brown 2-0-2-0, Longeiter 1-0-0-0, Main 1-0-0-0, Moffett 1-0-0-0. Totals 17-6-2-0.

Saegertown (13)

(AB-R-H-BI) E. Gardner 3-1-1-0, Crawford 1-0-0-0, W. Burchill 2-2-0-0, B. Burchill 3-3-2-1, Shaffer 2-2-1-2, Leslie 2-2-1-2, Young 3-1-2-1, Manning 2-1-0-0, Grundy 1-0-0-1, Mosbacher 1-0-0-0, Jordan 2-0-1-0. Totals 22-13-8-7.

Iroquois 000 00x x — 0 2 0

Saegertown 30(10) 0xx x — 13 8 0


(IP-H-R-ER-SO-BB) I — E. Alderson 2.1-6-9-5-0-2, Evan 1.2-2-4-0-0-2; S — Burchill 4-1-0-0-6-0, Manning 1-1-0-0-3-0.

Alex Topor can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at