By STEPHEN GLOVER
For the Call
2003 has been a season of disappointment for the Mehl-ville Senior High School baseball team.
The Panthers (2-14, 1-9 Suburban West) were suffering a five-game losing streak as of this Monday before the Call went to press. With that said, the coaching staff at Mehlville is looking for ways for the team to finish the year out on a stronger note as the Panthers potentially have three conference games this week.
Facing Fox Senior High May 5, the Panthers mustered just five hits in a 9-3 loss to the Warriors.
“Their pitcher (Glenn Roeder) kept us off balance and we didn’t start hitting until the seventh inning,” Mehlville Head Coach Jim Kern told the Call. “You’ve got to give Roeder credit for only giving up five hits.”
Mehlville senior outfielder Mike Shore provided some pop at the plate for the Panthers as he went 2-3 with a run batted in. The senior pitcher/outfielder has been hitting .300 while posting a record of 1-3 on the mound in which he’s retired a team-leading 20 batters via strikeout.
“Mike’s really been working on his hitting the past few weeks and it’s really show,” Kern said. “He’s been hitting the ball really well.”
On the following afternoon, the Panthers suffered their second shutout loss this season to Lafayette in a 4-0 setback to the Lancers.
“I thought we played well despite the loss,” Kern said. “We had good pitching from Casey Turner and I thought that we didn’t give up at any time during the game.”
Turner threw 51/3 innings, yielding four earned runs on six hits. The senior hurler did walk four batters and struck out one in the loss. He currently has a record of 1-5 on the mound for the Panthers with a 5.73 earned run average. He’s also second on the team in strikeouts this season with 18.
“I think that over the past year, Casey has been consistently the most dominating pitcher for us,” Kern said. “If he could eliminate the walks, he could have four to five more wins this season.”
The Panthers ran into a tough Parkway Central squad on Friday, resulting in a disappointing 11-5 loss for Mehlville.
“Parkway Central has two dominating pitchers in Mark Pratzel and Max Scherzer,” Kern said. “I think that they’re going to be a tough team to beat in the playoffs. You’re going to have to catch them on an off day and have a good day at the plate to beat them.”
Mehlville junior Danny Marchi started on the mound for the Panthers and lasted just 12/3 innings. Marchi gave up four earned runs on six hits and walked four batters in the loss.
The Panthers will return to action this Wednesday afternoon as they travel to Lindbergh for a key conference match. A win for Mehlville possibly could pull the Pan-thers out of the conference cellar.
“I think that we match up similar with Lindbergh,” Kern said. “Both of our pitching staffs have got to keep the ball down to win. I think that if we can keep the ball down and make the plays in the field, we’ll have a good chance at winning.”
The Lindbergh contest is slated for a 4:15 p.m. start.