The NRHEG Panthers entered the Section 2AA high school baseball tournament as the No. 12 seed and an underdog to escape even the opening round.
On Monday afternoon, their season came to an end after claiming wins over No. 2 Blue Earth Area, No. 5 Minnesota Valley Lutheran and No. 8 Medford as the Panthers suffered their second loss of the playoffs at the hands of the No. 4 Sibley East Wolverines, this time to the tune of 13-3 in five innings.
Alex Dobberstein, Kordell Schlaak and Nick Staloch picked up NRHEG’s three hits with Staloch’s being an RBI double. Dobberstein drove in the team’s only other RBI.
The Panthers’ hot pitching, which was the primary driving force behind their Cinderella run in the postseason, finally cooled off as Daxter Lee, Clay Stenzel and Staloch struggled to find the strikezone all game. The three pitchers combined to issue 13 walks while doling out only three strikeouts over the course of four and two-thirds innings. Sibley East scored seven runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to win by the 10-run rule.
NRHEG finishes their season with a record of 10-13 overall and as winners of four of their last seven games. Only the undefeated Hayfield Vikings, who will be playing for the Section 1A championship on Thursday, lasted longer in the postseason amongst Gopher Conference teams than the Panthers.