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Baseball: Errors add up for Ellsworth in loss to Prescott

Ellsworth pitcher James Georgakas looks in for the sign Thursday against Prescott in Prescott. The Panthers let a 4-0 lead slip away late in a 7-4 loss. Photo by Nick Gerhardt1 / 2
Ellsworth head coach Steve Block talks during a timeout on the mound Thursday against Prescott in Prescott. The Cardinals rallied for a 7-4 win. Photo by Nick Gerhardt2 / 2

PRESCOTT - Prescott pounced on Ellsworth miscues late in the game to rally to a 7-4 victory Thursday to claim the conference lead outright.

The Panthershad played nearly flawlessly in the field until Thursday and, in a game that decided who would lead the conference, Ellsworth made four errors.

A pop fly hit to shallow right field behind second base ignited a three-run fifth inning for the Cardinals and allowed them to take a 5-4 lead, their first of the game. Things went from bad to worse in a hurry for the Panthers after Mike Lytle reached on an error. A four-pitch walk to Jacob Hintz loaded the bases and Brian Early drove in two with a base hit to tie the game. Prescott scored the go-ahead run when Ellsworth botched a pick-off attempt with runners on first and third.

"I thought that changed the momentum of the game," Panthers head coach Steve Block said.

Prescott added two runs in the sixth inning when errors flared up again for Ellsworth. A run scored on a fielding mistake and another error extended the inning and allowed the Billy Brookshaw to hit a RBI sacrifice fly to make it 7-4.

Block called it the worst defensive game his team has played this season and the mistakes didn't stop there for the Panthers. Ellsworth made two base running gaffes that hurt. After a leadoff single in the top of the fourth inning the Panthers got picked off at first base. Chandler Flynn singled to left field after the pickoff and reached third base before Ellsworth flew out to end the inning. The Panthers also got picked off in the third inning.

Ellsworth raced out to a 4-0 lead after the second inning. Ellsworth (8-2, 6-1 Middle Border) grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first inning. The game stayed 4-0 until the fourth inning.

Connor Loutsch drove in two runs for the Cardinals (9-1, 6-0 Middle Border) in the fourth inning with a double to cut the lead to 4-2. Loutsch finished 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run. Loutsch also came on in relief of starter Lytle in the fifth inning and threw two innings of no-hit ball to earn the win. Loutsch walked one and struck out three.

"He was a nice change of pace I thought," Block said.

Loutsch threw slower than Lytle and the Panthers didn't make the adjustment at the plate.

"We're fortunate to come out on top," Prescott head coach Jeff Ryan said.

Both teams came into the game undefeated in the conference and had the feel of a postseason game, but Ellsworth didn't handle it well, Block said.

James Georgakas pitched all six innings for The Panthers and allowed seven runs on nine hits. Georgakas struck out five and walked three.

"It's just a classic Highway 10 rivalry," Ryan said. "These are the fun games."

Ellsworth has now lost two of their past three games and will face Durand Monday in Durand.