The Van Alstyne Panthers found a hole in their early season baseball schedule after a tournament in Whitesboro failed to materialize. On March 9-11, the Panthers headed north to play in the Red River Bat Bash at Madill High School.

Dickson 9, Van Alstyne 1

Things got off to a rocky start in game one of the tournament as Dickson, a Class 3-A school, handed the Panthers a 9-1 whipping.

Van Alstyne head coach Jimmy Haynes was upset with the play of his team, which committed nine errors in the game.

The contest got off to a nice start, with both pitchers working out of run-scoring situations. Van Alstyne junior Hunter Hutchison got three infield outs in the first inning and worked out of a jam in the second, keeping the game scoreless.

The Panthers first error and a walk put two Dickson runners on, but Hutchison got the next three outs to shut down that threat.

Rhett Gallagher was the first Van Alstyne base runner hit by a pitch with one out in the first inning. Hutchison reached on a Dickson error to start the second, but was erased on a fielder’s choice by Vance Watkins. Watkins moved up on a single to left by Sam Tormos, but two strike outs spoiled that opportunity.

Dickson scored in the top of the third, using a walk and three errors to get on the board. Chase Wilson got an infield hit to open the Panthers’ half of the third, moved up with a stolen base and eventually scored on a Dickson error, tying the game 1-1.

Things quickly went south for Van Alstyne in the fourth as Dickson scored five runs to take the lead. Two hit batters, two Van Alstyne errors and a double sparked the rally.

The Comets added one run in the sixth and had a two-run seventh to lock up the 9-1 win.

Van Alstyne 11, Sulphur 1

Van Alstyne and Sulphur were scheduled for a 12:00 start in Madill in game two of the tournament on March 10, and Haynes had his charges on the field at Forrest Moore Park taking some early practice. They may consider making that a regular part of the schedule as the bats responded with a 10-hit attack in an 11-1 win over the Sulphur Bulldogs.

Jordan Velekei had a 2-for-3 day at the plate, while Chase Wilson, Luke Hundt and Tyler Wilson each had two hits in four at-bats in the contest.

Most importantly, the Panthers had just one error.

The pitching performance of freshman Sam Tormos was on the plus side as well. Tormos did not give up a hit for the first 5 2/3 innings, while striking out six.

Van Alstyne got off the bus swinging, scoring five runs in the first two innings to jump out to a big lead. Chase Wilson beat out an infield hit to start the game, swiped second, and moved to third on a ground out to the right side by Rhett Gallagher.

Luke Hundt singled to drive in Wilson, and Tyler Wilson followed with a hit that moved Hundt to third. Velekie collected the RBI with a sacrifice fly to score Hundt. Hunter Hutchison singled to drive in Tyler Wilson for the 3-0 start.

After adding a couple of runs in the third, Van Alstyne blew the game open with a six-run, sixth inning.

Van Alstyne scored a pair of runs early in the frame, Hundt and Velekei scoring after hitting singles.

With two out, the Panthers used a hit batter (Sam Tormos), Tyler Neshyba’s walk and another walk to Scott Taylor to load the bases.

Ryan Cole, running for the pitcher Tormos, and Jimmy Head, running for Neshyba, the catcher, scored on a single by Chase Wilson to take an 11-0 lead.

Sulphur avoided the shutout by scoring a single run in the seventh.

Velekei got the final out with a strikeout.

Van Alstyne 13, Callisburg 1 (4)

The Panther bats were smoking hot on March 11 as they wrapped up the Red River Bat Bash in Madill, Oklahoma, with a 13-1, run-rule win over Callisburg.

It took just four innings for the Panthers to get the win, and with a cold north wind and rain beginning to fall, a short game was needed.

Van Alstyne scored in every inning, taking a 9-0 lead before Callisburg could get on the board.

Sophomore pitcher Chandler David went the distance, scattering four hits and striking out five. He gave up just one hit in the first three innings.

Tyler Wilson and Jordan Velekei each drove in a pair of runs and they, along with Chase Wilson, had doubles in the contest.

Van Alstyne pounded out 13 hits against three Wildcat pitchers

On the defensive side, after committing nine errors in the opening game loss to Dickson, the Panthers only had one miscue in the next two games, none in Saturday’s final.

The Panthers will take a 7-2-3 record into District 10-3A play.