Elsberry, Mo. – In professional baseball, playoff appearances are a series of 3 to 7 games per game. If you want to turn up the drama, try to make every playoff look like a sudden death; that’s what they do at high school ball. Every game the Elsberry Indians play is already a fight for their season, and this past Tuesday, Elsberry endured the fight another day by beating the Palmyra Panthers in a dominant manner, 9-3.
The box mark says it all. The first two innings ended 0-0 as both teams worked to figure out the other. Elsberry put together a winning combination starting in the third, after they scored every inning. The aggressive run at base seemed to shake the Panthers, who stopped two runs on two errors in the third. Outfielder Kyle Turnbull started the inning by leading with an error; he would steal a second and advance home to a single from all-star Kaden Kinsler.
Kinsler stole himself before getting a ticket home via an RBI smack from Joel Mound. In the middle, Palmyra pitcher Ethan Tallman passed one of his 4 strikeouts that day.
At the bottom 2-0, Palmyra showed their ability and fight by closing out the inning with a double play. This doubles game was one of many good defensive efforts from the Panthers, whose last fall was untimely errors and an inability to score runs.
Gavin Woodson stood like an ace for the Elsberry Indians, throwing 9 strikeouts and allowing only one run to be earned. He went five and two-thirds a day before being replaced by Kinsler, who put the comfort in seventh and ended the game.
The game was a strong defensive showing for the Indians, with the exception of two back-to-back errors in the sixth that put Palmyra up for two run doubles. Even more impressive was Elsberry’s ability to make runs, scoring nine points on multiple hits (only one of which took for more bases). Their win against Palmyra moves them into the Elite Eight in the statewide class 3 tournament, where other powerhouses such as Father Tolton Regional Catholic School, Lawson High and Valley Park remain.