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ELLSWORTH - It seems purple and white always look good on Clair Austin. Austin, the first-year coach at Ellsworth, has sported the colors as a player in high school where he won a state championship at Brandon, S.D., at Goodhue, where he led the team to two state championships and eight state tournament appearances in 13 years, and now with the Panthers, who made him a winner Friday in his first game with a 22-7 victory over Elk Mound. "I think it's big to start out the way we did," Austin said. Big because winning football games hasn't come easily for Ellsworth in the past three years.
Ellsworth led by a run after six complete, but the Panthers committed two errors and allowed three runs in the top of the seventh to lose Tuesday's home game in the Division 2 regional tournament. Ellsworth finished the game with six errors. "If we play better defense we win the game," Panthers coach Ryan Casper said. "Defensively we didn't get it done. We gave them too many outs." Ellsworth loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh, but it only managed one run that frame. It left the tying run stranded at third. Halle Hatch suffered the loss.
Ellsworth senior Joey Henning's prep career came to an end Tuesday as he shot an 89 and finished in a five-way tie for 39th place at the Division 2 Hayward sectional. The meet was played at Hayward Golf Club.
The Panthers committed five errors in the second round of the Division 2 regional tournament Tuesday night in Somerset, falling in extra innings. Somerset had zero errors. James Georgakas started for Ellsworth and didn't allow a single earned run over his seven innings of work. He struck out eight and walked three while giving up eight hits. Ellsworth was forced to go up against Jared Dettman, who has committed to play baseball at the University of Connecticut next year. "I thought (Georgakas) pitched better than (Dettman)," Ellsworth coach Steve Block said.
All season Ellsworth strove to be more consistent on defense and at the plate. In the final game of the regular season Tuesday, the Panthers didn't commit an error and they collected 10 hits as they won in Osceola. "I think we accomplished what we set out to," Panthers coach Ryan Capser said. Neither team started its top pitcher and several Ellsworth players found themselves in different roles or positions. The player shuffling took place because the two teams are expected to meet in the second-round of the Division 2 regionals. Ellsworth is the No. 2 seed and Osceola is the No.
Ellsworth's Joe Henning fired an 81 Tuesday at the Division 2 Osceola regional and qualified for the sectional tournament as an individual. Henning, a senior, tied for 11th place at the regional. Ellsworth finished sixth in the 11-team field at Krooked Kreek Golf Club with a 361. The top four teams advanced to the sectional. Chrystian Kulow finished with the Panthers' second best score, an 87.
The Ellsworth boys and girls both placed third out of nine teams at the Division 2 regional meet Monday in Somerset.
The Panthers season came to an end Monday as they didn't have anyone advance beyond the opening round of the Division 2 Regis subsectional in Eau Claire, Wis. One of the few bright spots came in Flight 4 of singles where Ellsworth freshman Will Huppert lost 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to Kory Hill of Amery. "Will was able to stay in there and keep hitting good shots," Panthers coach Casey Keller said. "When he made a mistake he was able to shrug that off. ...
The host Pirates scored two unearned runs in the fifth and the Hubbers made two outs on the bases that potentially cost them runs in Prescott's win Sunday. "(We) gave the game away," Ellsworth player/manager Darren Maxwell said. Mitch Johnson allowed five runs (three earned) over 6 1/3 innings and suffered the loss. He gave up six hits, walked two and struck out one. Ellsworth's Lance Hove went 3-for-5 with a run in a game that was delayed twice because of rain. The Hubbers dropped to 1-1 overall and 0-1 in the St. Croix Valley League.
Menomonie 2, Ellsworth 1 Ellsworth fell in a pitchers' duel in the first game of the Bloomer tournament Saturday. The Panthers outhit Menomonie by one, but it was the lack of clutch hits that hurt Ellsworth. "It was a pretty good game, but we had some opportunities where we didn't come up with timely hits," Ellsworth coach Ryan Casper said. Halle Hatch took the loss for the Panthers. The junior went four innings, gave up six hits and allowed two earned runs.