The Storm Lake-St. Mary's baseball team finished its Northwest Conference schedule on a high note, rallying past Aurelia here Wednesday night for a 9-7 win.
The young Panthers finished 8-6 in conference play and will take some momentum into next week's Class 1A tourney play.
Senior Andy Dahm picked up the mound win for St. Mary's, giving up seven runs, just two of which were earned. He went seven innings, giving up just six hits while walking one and striking out five. Both teams made four errors in the field.
The Bulldogs broke on top with two runs in the top of the first inning, but St. Mary's made it 2-1 after one inning with a single run in the first.
The Panthers led 3-2 after two innings and 4-3 after three. Aurelia broke loose for three runs in the top of the fourth and led 6-4 after four.
The Panthers fought back with a single run in the fifth to get to within 6-5. They erupted for four runs in the bottom of the sixth for a 9-6 lead after six frames. The Bulldogs rallied for a single run in the top of the seventh before falling two runs short.
The Panthers outhit Aurelia 9-6.
"It was nice to see us come from behind to pick up another victory," said St. Mary's coach Ryan Berg. "We struggled a little early on and Aurelia was putting the ball in play pretty well.
"We really stepped it up in the sixth inning to push some runs across," he added. "We battled out of a jam again when Aurelia tried to mount a comeback in the seventh.
"We are doing a lot of things we need to do to be successful in post-season play."
Senior Nick Netsch led the Panther offense, going 2 for 4 with a double in the third and a single in the fifth. Nate Gessner was 2 for 4 with a clutch, two-run homer in the sixth and a double in the fifth.
Dahm added a two-run double in the sixth, while Ryne Paterson laced an RBI single in the second. Jimmy Steward added an RBI single in the third and Alec Kestel hit an RBI-double in the second.
With the victory, the Panthers improved to 12-12 on the season. They'll play at Kinglsey-Pierson on Saturday to conclude their regular season schedule.
The Panthers opened the week with a 7-4 win over Lawton-Bronson in Lawton.
They banged out ten hits, and perhaps most importantly, played outstanding defense. They made two errors, but came through with some clutch defensive plays, Berg said.