KEOTA — The Cardinal baseball team rallied from a three-run deficit to defeat Pekin 7-5 in a game that took eight innings to finish Thursday night in the Class 1A, District 9 bracket.
The Comets managed to weather a four-run fourth inning by the Panthers on their way to picking up a victory.
“There were times where some of the team got down on ourselves,” Cardinal Brennon Elder said, “but the whole team kept each other up most of the game and we were able to fight back.”
“It took the entire team to comeback,” Cardinal coach Tom Hallgren added. “We’ve talked to guys all year long that one thing about learning how to win is when you get in a situation where there’s adversity you’ve got to go back to your basics, you have to go back to fundamentals. They had to hit their way back into the game, and, by god, they found a way to do it.”
The tide began to shift in the Comets’ favor when Elder replaced Conner McElderry on the mound in the middle of the fourth. After three solid innings of work on the hill, McElderry had run into some serious trouble. The Panthers used a blitz of singles by Kolby Allsup, Petie Clubb, Nazereth Rambo and Cole Reighard and a pair of doubles by Cade Millikin and Seth Jensen to put four runs on the board and build a 5-2 lead.
But Elder’s insertion into the game successfully squelched the Panthers offensive momentum. After he helped Cardinal navigate its way out of the tempestuous inning, the Comet’s began to methodically chip away at Pekin’s lead.
In the top of the fifth, Cardinal’s Tyler Albert came through with a single to left field that drove in Cody Streeby and narrowed the gap to 5-3. Then, in the sixth, Streeby, who went 4-5 at the plate, cracked a double to right field that scored Dakota Showman and cut Pekin’s lead to 5-4.