BASEBALL

JERSEY 9, CIVIC MEMORIAL 8 (8 INNINGS): Jersey scored four times in the bottom of the eighth – three of them coming off a Jake Varble triple – to hand Civic Memorial a 9-8, eight-inning loss in the Mississippi Valley Conference opener for both teams at Jersey Monday.

The Eagles had scored three times in the eighth thanks to a double by Devin Daniels and hits from Collin Hall and Tyler Andrus to take the lead before the Panthers' comeback; all four runs scored with two out in the inning.

Crick Kimble went 1-for-3 for the Panthers with a three-run homer in the third. Varble went 4-for-5 with a double and a triple, three RBIs and three runs scored, including the game-winner.

“It was just an ugly game, but we didn’t quit,” Jersey coach Darren Perdun said. “I give my guys a lot of credit; we got the W (win). We were down three runs with two outs and I keep preaching to the kids you play hard until the last out. It is a crazy game. I said to the guys let’s get No. 7 up and he is locked in now. We have Crick (Kimble) hitting behind him so pick your poison.”

Varble went seven innings for the Panthers (9-5 overall, 1-0 in the MVC) and giving up two earned runs and seven hits while striking out five. Drake Kanallakan got the win for Jersey; Corey Price was the losing pitcher for the Eagles.

Perdun said the Mississippi Valley Conference baseball race is up for grabs as the season begins.

“The Valley is tough and it always has been,” he said. “This year is anybody’s to win. It is a long season left; it is good to get off to a 1-0 conference start. If we get consistency and get on track, we will be tough.”

So far, Jersey has faced some tough competition the coach said and he thinks that is making his team better.

Varble is getting into a groove with his hitting, Perdun said.

“Jake had a great day today and good game against Marquette on Saturday,” he said. “ In batting practice he is also on it.

“Our pitching has been strong and position guys who pitch work hard and keep us in ballgames.”

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