MT. PLEASANT — The Mt. Pleasant baseball team needed to take two games from rival Washington and get a little help from Ft. Madison if they wanted to end the night with a portion of the Southeast Conference crown, and the chips fell perfectly on a hot summer night in Southeast Iowa.
Mt. Pleasant grabbed Game 1, 9-0, and took Game 2, 8-2, to end the conference slate at 8-2. Ft. Madison split with Burlington in their home doubleheader, handing the Grayhounds their second conference loss with two games still remaining.
“Our guys came in really focused today,” said Panther head coach Brent Broeker. “I thought our pitchers did a fantastic job, and our batters put pressure on them every inning.”
Nik Coble pitched six innings of a shutout in Game 1. He gave up just three hits and the Demons had just four all game. Washington’s Ethan Zieglowsky had two hits, a double and a single, and the duo of Reece Mayer and Lucas Kroll both finished with one single.
After two scoreless innings, the Panthers broke the tie with RBI singles from Clayton Lowery and Brennen Bender to take a 2-0 lead. In the fifth, the Panther tacked on three more, capped off by a Dalton Gardner RBI groundout to make it 5-0. The Panthers blew it open with a four-run bottom of the sixth, which included Lowery’s third RBI of the game.
Mt. Pleasant scored all eight runs in the third and fifth innings of Game 2. Coble went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. Lowery finished 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs. Rylan Seberg went 3-for-4, and both Gardner and Jack Johnson knocked one in. Jaxon Hoyle picked up the win on the mound.
Washington’s only two runs of the night came in the fourth and sixth innings of Game 2. Brady Knutson crossed the plate after a two-out walk in the fourth, and Ethan Patterson knocked in Luke Turner in the sixth. Other than those two runs, it was a quiet night for a Demon offense that came in averaging almost 12 runs in their last four games.
“I really feel like (Mt. Pleasant) wanted it more,” said Demon head coach Nathan Miller. “They were playing with a purpose tonight, and we weren’t.”
Mt. Pleasant moved to 10-5 overall and 8-2 in conference play. Washington is now 7-6 overall and finished with a 5-5 SEC record.
The night was an emotional one for the Broeker family after the tragic death of Broeker, a 2013 Mt. Pleasant graduate, over the weekend. Before the game, Mt. Pleasant honored him with a ceremony, and Panther senior Corbin Broeker wore Devyn’s No. 8 jersey. More information on that ceremony will be in Wednesday’s edition of The Union.