In the top of the seventh, Rambo was elected to close things out on the mound for Pekin, as he replaced starting pitcher Seth Jensen. Things started out swimmingly for the Panther pitcher as he struck out Albert to start the inning. But the next batter Rambo faced would change the whole complexion of the game. Cardinal’s Charlie Rachford slapped a grounder up the middle that Rambo couldn’t field cleanly; a throw to first got was unsuccessful, allowing Rachford to advance to second. Elder followed the play with a line-drive single to centerfield that drove in Rachford and tied the game at 5.
In the top of eighth, Streeby drilled a one-out double to right centerfield. Moments later, McElderry belted a double to right centerfield that gave the Comets a 6-5 lead. Later in the inning, Rachford singled home McElderry to make it 7-5 Cardinal.
Pekin, however, still had some fight left in the bottom half of the inning. After Elder struck out Jensen, Graham Wittrock and Allsup delivered back-to-back singles for the Panthers. Elder, however, managed to bear down and get the next two batters to strike out and ground out to Rachford at second base.
In his four and two-thirds innings of work Elder struck out nine batters and allowed only two hits.
“We’ve talked to Brennon all year about command, command, command,” Hallgren said. “When he locates and hits his spots he’s effective, when he misses his spot he’s vulnerable. He hit enough spots to get it done tonight.”
Pekin coach Curtis Reighard, however, felt his team could have done a little better.
“We needed to to be a little more disciplined in the last three innings, because he was struggling,” Reighard said.
Allsup performed brilliantly for Pekin offensively in defeat, going 3-for-4 at the plate. Despite the loss, coach Reighard found some positive things to build on for the future.