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Panthers take advantage of Lin-Wood collapse

The Lumberjacks rally around pitcher Justin Vance late in their game versus Lisbon. James Barrett. (click for larger version)
April 21, 2014
LINCOLN — In the opening game of the season for both the Lisbon Panthers and the Lin-Wood Lumberjacks baseball teams, the two teams set the precedent for the rest of the season. The two teams were in a gridlock until the final inning when Lin-Wood narrowly let the game get away.

Getting the start on the hill for the Lumberjacks was the accurate arm of Max Dovholuk. Dovholuk had significant experience from the mound last year and proved to be a high end pitcher. This season Dovholuk got off on the right foot. Throwing six and one-third innings, Dovholuk only allowed a single hit to go with his six strikeouts. The only department that Dovholuk had difficulties with in his opening game, were his five walks.

In the first inning of the game, Dovholuk set down the Lisbon hitters with ease. That then cued Lisbon's starting pitcher and all-state talent Dylan Blowey. Blowey last season was a force from the bump, however had little run support on a Lisbon team that battled injuries and suspension for a good part of the season.

In the first inning Blowey had trouble shaking out the cobwebs. The Lumberjacks got to Blowey and at one point were threatening to score with runners on second and third. After a few pitches, Blowey got some momentum back by picking off the Lumberjack runner at second. He then went on to retire the next two batters to get out of the inning.

That was as close to scoring that the Lumberjacks could get in the game.

"Blowey kept us off balance all game long with a great curveball," Lin-Wood head coach Kevin O'Brien commented after the game. "It also didn't help that it was the first live pitching we had faced this season."

From that point on the game stayed close with neither team able to get any sort of advantage. That was the case until the top of the seventh when Dovholuk was taken out of the game and Justin Vance entered for the Lumberjacks.

Right from the start, Vance was having control issues. It was those issues that led two walks that set the stage for a game hero

Lisbon's Gage Pequeno then stepped into the box following the walks. After watching a pitch or two, Pequeno ripped a ball into the gap. The hit drove in the two runs and gave the Panthers their first lead of the game.

Vance did eventually work out of the inning but the damage had already been done.

Heading into the bottom of the seventh Lisbon coach Jeremy Aldrich opted for the big arm of Kyle Lyndes to seal the deal. The move proved to be ideal. Lyndes was lights out and slammed the door on the game giving the Panthers an opening day win, 2-0.

WP: (LIS) Dylan Blowey (1-0)- 6 ip, 3 H, 12 K, 2 BB

LP: (LW) Justin Vance (0-1)- 1 ip, 1 H, 2 BB

S: (LIS) Kyle Lyndes (1)- 1 ip

Garnett Hill
Martin Lord Osman
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