CARTERVILLE -- The improbable postseason run for the Pinckneyville Panthers baseball squad (6-19 overall record) will continue Saturday in Zeigler for the regional championship after defeating Trico, 6-5, Wednesday, at John A. Logan College. The Panthers will square off with the winner of Thursday evening's game between Du Quoin and Zeigler-Royalton/Christopher. Championship game Saturday is set for noon.
PCHS led 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh, but Trico rallied with two runs to tie the game at 4-4 and force extra innings. Both teams scored a single run in the eighth to make the score 5-5.
In the top of the ninth, the visiting Panthers scored what proved to be the winning run when Morganstern walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Lucas Teel.
In the bottom of the frame, Nick Compton of the Pioneers walked, and with one out, advanced all the way to third on a passed ball. he was then gunned down at the plate on a throw from PCHS centerfielder Wyatt Gale, after Gale had caught a fly ball off the bat of Thies. The double play ended the game in dramatic fashion.
"It was a strike," Panthers head coach Bill Segelhorst said of Teel's throw. "He was pretty much at normal depth in the outfield. It wasn't that shallow a fly ball."
PCHS had entered the semifinal tilt with Trico after dispatching Waltonville/Sesser-Valier, Monday, 12-8. Now, the Panthers will battle for a regional crown.
"The chemistry with this team has gotten better and better and better as the season has worn on," Segelhorst said. "The kids are believing in one another. Everything is clicking. If we can keep playing on Saturday like we did these last two games, we have a shot."
Winning pitcher for PCHS was Noah Carter in relief of Morgenstern, who started. Losing pitcher was Compton in relief of Jacob Lodge.
Top hitter for the Panthers was Reid Keene with two doubles, a single, walk, and three runs batted in. Adding two hits and an RBI were both Carter and Morgenstern. Tyler Essary, Austin Alspach, Hunter Riggins and Teel each added one hit to the cause.