It always hurts to lose, but sometimes it can hurt to win, too.
Pine View ace Dakota Donovan knows a little bit about the latter after the Panthers’ 7-4 win over Cedar on Tuesday.
In the bottom of the first, Cedar shortstop Rykker Tom sent a hard liner right back to Donovan. The ball ricocheted off the right-hander’s throwing shoulder and to first for the out. It was a lucky bounce for the Panthers, but it came from a very unlucky smack.
The comebacker left a big bruise on Donovan’s shoulder, and it affected him the entire contest.
“It hurt the whole game. It hurts standing right now,” Donovan said. “They (the Pine View coaches) just asked me how I was feeling and I told them I was fine.”
Donovan pitched five innings, giving up three hits and striking out five to earn the victory. And though he wasn’t his usually overpowering self, he still had his moments — between the third and fourth innings he struck out four straight.
“I definitely didn’t have my velocity and I didn’t have the greatest feel for things,” Donovan said. “Sometimes you have to pitch without your best stuff.”
A semi-weakened Donovan is still one of the best pitchers in the state, especially if you can get him a lead — and the Panthers did just that.
In the top of the third, Pine View had three hits and took advantage of two Cedar errors to score three runs and take a 3-1 lead. The Panthers duplicated the feat in the next frame, scoring three more in the fourth to take a 6-2 advantage. Pine View’s offense was led by Jagun Leavitt who went 4 for 4 with two RBIs.
“When you get a lead you can pitch with confidence,” Donovan said. “You don’t really have to pitch around anybody. Cedar’s got some really good hitters, and when you got that kind of a lead you can go right at them and make them hit your pitches.”
Donovan left the game after the fifth inning, with the Panthers leading 7-3. He doesn’t expect his shoulder to be a lingering issue — he said it was just a bruise, nothing more.
Cole Green finished the game on the mound for Pine View.
“(Donovan) didn’t have his best day today,” Pine View coach Troy Wall said. “We pretty much had Cole planned to go two innings, and we have all the confidence in the world in Cole.”
And Green got it done, but not without some heart-pounding moments.
The Redmen entered the bottom of the seventh down by four, but were able to make things interesting. Brock Oldroyd hit a single and Tom drew a walk to set up an RBI-single from Drake Lewis. Ryan Slack then hit a single to load the bases up with two outs, but Green was able to get Kyler Carrizosa to ground out to end the Cedar threat and secure the win for Pine View.
“Once we got past their number three hitter (Lewis) we felt pretty good,” Wall said. “Rykker, we know him real well. We’ve played with him a bunch. He can change the game in a hurry, so we had to be really careful there.”
With the win, Pine View remained at the top of Region 9 with a 4-1 league record. Cedar fell to 1-4 in region play.
“It’s nice, but we still haven’t played to our potential and it’s driving us nuts,” Wall said.
Follow Ryan Miller on Twitter, @millerjryan.