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story.lead_photo.caption Bud Sullins/Special to the Herald-Leader Siloam Springs junior Baron Meek delivers a pitch during Monday's game against Providence Academy.

Siloam Springs baseball coach Alan Hardcastle was looking for the Panthers to continue their trend of good baseball Monday at home against Providence Academy.

Instead, it turned into a pitching nightmare for the Panthers, who issued 15 free passes combined via walks and hit batsmen. Providence Academy also had 13 hits and took advantage of three Siloam Springs errors in a 20-10 nonconference victory at James Butts Baseball Complex.

The struggles on the mound for Siloam Springs (3-14) were a bit of a surprise, especially with the Panthers coming off solid performances last week in a 2-1 loss at Harrison and a 3-1 victory at Farmington -- both conference games.

"I'm just going to be honest. They weren't ready to play," Hardcastle said. "I think they kind of got a little big for their britches because they had a little success against Harrison. They had success and won a game at Farmington.

"We are a team that has to play good at all times. We can't afford to walk people, and we can't afford to make errors. We don't have that guy that can come back and just (retire the side) one-two-three, you know what I'm saying? I just feel like we weren't ready to play. I feel bad because we come home and show the town what we've got. We've been playing better, and we just lay an egg."

It started with the very first batter for Providence (4-5) on Monday as Nathan Bandy laced a triple into the right center field gap.

Siloam Springs starter Dalton Marsh then struggled with his control, plunking four of the next five batters to give Providence a 2-0 lead, but the Panthers had a chance to get out of the inning down just two runs.

Instead, Siloam Springs was unable to field a pop fly in the infield which dropped in fair play for a 3-0 lead. Another hit batter made it 4-0 and Bandy laced a three-run triple -- his second triple of the first inning -- for a 7-0 lead.

"I'm sure in Providence lore that was pretty rare," Providence coach Brent McConnell said of Bandy's two first-inning triples. "I told him 'you got yourself in history here. Two triples in the same inning.' He's a good little hitter. He'll make a good hand for somebody, because he hits line drive after line drive."

An RBI double by Asher Cameron made it 8-0 Patriots in the first inning before the Panthers finally got out of the third inning.

The Panthers began to rally in the bottom half.

Sophomore Taylor Pool hit a solo home run to right center field to get the Panthers on the scoreboard, and Siloam Springs scored three more runs to pull within 8-4. Reed Willbanks reached on an error, followed by a single by Baron Meek and Isaac Price being hit by a pitch.

Chance Hilburn laced a two-run single and Elijah Coffey had an RBI bloop single as the Panthers cut the lead in half but left the bases loaded.

After Baron Meek pitched a scoreless second inning, the Panthers scored three more runs to make it 8-7 in the bottom of the second. Price walked and Hilburn ripped an RBI double to make it 8-5. Dalton Cook grounded out but drove in a run for an 8-6 score and Coffey singled again to drive in another run, but the Panthers couldn't tie the game.

After recording the first two outs in the top of the third, Siloam Springs let Providence rally for four runs to take a 12-7 lead.

The Panthers got one run back in the third after Pool hit a double and came around to score.

Providence added three more runs in the fourth to go up 15-8, and Siloam Springs got another run back when sophomore Dalton Cook hit a solo home run to right for a 15-9 game.

The score remained 15-9 until the sixth when Providence scored five runs to go up 20-9. Siloam Springs scored a single run in the bottom of the sixth but couldn't extend the game anymore as the Patriots earned the run-rule victory.

"Both teams tried to get what they could get out of their pitching," McConnell said. "It just happened to be one of those games where you score that many runs, there's going to be a few walks and hit batsmen and errors behind things that help in that kind of a ballgame."

Bandy finished 3 for 3 with four RBIs and three runs scored to lead Providence, and he also picked up the win on the mound in relief. Cameron had two hits, two runs and one RBI. Charlie Summers scored two runs and had two RBIs while Dan Taylor scored three runs and had two RBIs and C.J. Freeman scored two runs with an RBI.

The Patriots got good production from the bottom of their order as No. 8-hole hitter Luke Medlin had two hits and scored three runs, while Kaleb Cameron had a base hit, two RBIs and scored three runs.

Meek finished with four hits and two RBIs to lead Siloam Springs, while Pool had two hits, scored a run and had an RBI. Hilburn had two hits and three RBIs, Coffey two hits and two RBIs and Cook two RBIs.

Marsh took the loss for Siloam Springs, while Meek, Gavin Henson, Isaac Price and Dakota Herrel all pitched.

"When it's all said and done, I hate to take anything away from Providence," Hardcastle said. "They swung the bat. But you know, we don't know when they get 15 free passes. Then you mix in three or four errors and two to three balls that should have been caught."

The Panthers were scheduled to return to action at home Tuesday against Harrison. Results were not available at presstime. Siloam Springs is scheduled to play at Clarksville on Thursday before hosting Mountain Home in a makeup game on Friday.

Providence Academy 20, Siloam Springs 10

Providence Academy^804^305^--^20^13^2

Siloam Springs^431^101^--^10^11^3

Freeman, Bandy (2), Summers (4), Medlin (6) and Jackson. Marsh, Meek, Henson (3), Price (4), Herrel (6) and Pool. W - Bandy. L - Marsh. SV -- None. HR -- Siloam Springs. Pool (1), Cook (1).

Sports on 04/11/2018

Print Headline: Panthers fall short in slugfest

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