By BRYAN GIBBONS
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
PALMYRA, Mo. — Brock Butler knows that Friday night's victory for the Palmyra baseball team was just one step toward a much larger goal.
That's winning the Clarence Cannon Conference.
"Knowing that we're just two games away now, we're pretty excited," Butler said.
Palmyra allowed Macon to score five runs in the first two innings, but the bats awoke and carried the Panthers to a 17-7 victory in six innings at Flower City Park.
The Panthers (12-1, 6-0 CCC) scored six runs in the bottom of the first after Macon scored three runs in the top half.
"We haven't been down too many times this year, and I think they were determined not to let things get out of control early," Palmyra coach Mark Loman said. "They realized they had to focus up after they saw Macon start to put the bat on the ball to start the game."
Caleb Kizer ripped a single to center field to lead off the bottom of the first, and Holden Hudson drew a walk. After both runenrs moved up on a wild pitch, Butler plated both on a single to right field.
After another walk and a single loaded the bases, Aaron Stone launched a ball over the center field fence for what appeared to be a grand slam. However, Palmyra's Josh Hultz returned to first base to tag up, believing the ball would be caught.
As Stone was rounding first base, he passed Hultz and was ruled out. The three runs were allowed to score.
"I just didn't know if it was going to go out or not, so I was watching the ball in the air," said Stone, who was credited with a single and three RBIs on the play. "I just rounded first while Josh was going back to tag. It was a mistake on my part."
The bizarre play didn't hamper the Palmyra offense.
The Panthers scored two more times in the second, but received a scare on a freak play involving Hudson.
The junior was on third base when Macon starting pitcher Craig Smith threw a wild pitch that bounced to the backstop. Hudson tried to score and was struck in the face on an errant throw from Tigers catcher Jordan Bealmer.
"They don't think anything's broken, and that's a good thing," Loman said. "He may have a minor concussion. We're just hoping for the best."
Stone overcame a shaky start to get the win for the Panthers. The junior struck out seven while walking five over six innings.
"I just didn't have my best stuff tonight," Stone said. "Thankfully, my teammates backed me up offensively and defensively."