One big task has now been crossed off the list for the Fort Zumwalt North Panthers.
It took about a week and an extra inning to make it happen, but the wait was more than worth it for the Fort Zumwalt North Panthers.
Zumwalt North slogged through a rainy afternoon, and a determined archrival in Fort Zumwalt South, but thanks to a two-run eighth inning rally, the host Panthers came from behind for a 5-4 victory Monday afternoon.
Fort Zumwalt North (17-5) claimed the Gateway Athletic Conference Central championship with the victory as the Panthers finished conference play with a conference best 7-1 mark.
Fort Zumwalt South (11-17, 5-3) finished second in the conference. The Bulldogs came out locked in early, scoring a run in the top of the first to grab an early lead.
Josh Mesler walked with one out and came home to score from third on a bases-loaded walk to Jake Laffluer to make it 1-0.
In the bottom of the second, the Panthers came back with a big answer as Zumwalt North pushed three runs across the plate.
Eric Rothermich started the inning with a single to left and Garrett Darrah singled. Connor Zangriles walked on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases and Nick Bohannan followed with an RBI to tie it 1-1.
The Panthers added two more runs off Fort Zumwalt South starter Travis Barton and moved ahead 3-1 after two innings.
In the top of the fifth, the Bulldogs pushed across another run against Zumwalt North starter Dylan Elledge to pull within 3-2.
Zumwalt South would not go away in the seventh as the Bulldogs touched Panthers reliever Jacob Gentry for a run to even the score at 3-3.
In the home half of the seventh, Zumwalt North had a chance to grab the walk-off win but could not bring a run home which moved the game into extra frames.
South plated its final run in the top of the eighth against Bohannan, who came on in relief of Gentry to go up 4-3.
That lead would not hold up in the bottom of the eighth. The Panthers, who banged out 12 hits on the afternoon, responded with two more runs to get the walk-off win and claim the conference championship.
Zangriles led the Panthers bat brigade with three hits and scored twice. Malik Holts was 2 for 4 with 2 RBI. Darrah, Alex Owens, and Eric Rothermich each had two hits.
Fort Zumwalt North travels to Fort Zumwalt West today for a 4:15 p.m. non conference game. Fort Zumwalt South vists Troy Buchanan today at 4:15 p.m. in a non conference matchup.