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MCDONALD'S GAME OF THE WEEK (Baseball): Iowa–Grant 3, Fennimore 2
Panthers open Jinkins Field with a narrow win over Fennimore
Senior Josh Cartwright laces a leadoff single in the bottom of the first inning of Iowa–Grant’s season-opening 3–2 victory over Fennimore last Tuesday. It was the first hit at Iowa–Grant’s new Jinkins Field in Livingston. - photo by Photo by Jason Nihles

PREP BASEBALL: Iowa–Grant 3, Fennimore 2

LIVINGSTON — The Iowa–Grant Panthers open brand new Jinkins Field in Livingston in grand style last Tuesday afternoon. 

After a 30-minute field dedication ceremony, Donna Jinkins threw out the first pitch. The field was built on a 5-acre plot of farm land that was donated to the village of Livingston by Jinkins and her late husband Jack Jinkins.

With festivities out of the way, the Panthers took the field and rallied behind senior starter Isaac Hill to defeat visiting Fennimore 3–2 in the season opener for both teams.

Hill tossed five no-hit innings, striking out seven Golden Eagles and he drove in what turned out to be the eventual game-winning run with an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning to give Iowa–Grant a 3–0 lead. 

Then, after Fennimore scored two runs in the sixth to pull within a run, Hill made a diving stop in the hole between first and second and threw out Mason Adkins from his backside for the second out of the seventh inning to help preserve the win. 

Fellow senior Josh Cartwright struck out the next Fennimore batter to end the game, stranding the tying run on first base, and earn the save.

Cartwright also collected the first official hit at Jinkins Fields with a leadoff single to centerfield in the bottom of the first inning and finished the game 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. He struck out two and allowed just one run on two hits in two innings of relief.

“The new ballpark is a great addition to our program and youth,” said Iowa–Grant head coach Kyle Riemenapp. “A lot of people have put in extra work, along with all of the donations, to make the field happen. First of all, thank you to the Jinkins family for starting the field by donating the land. Greg Slack spent a lot of time organizing and making sure the park was ready to go. Sheila Ruchti led the fundraising and donations. Thank you to all of our community members for making this happen. We are very appreciative and happy to play there.” 

Junior Reid Lundell singled, in the fourth inning stole second advance to third on a wild pitched and scored on a throwing error by Fennimore catcher Mark Kenney when he sailed a throw over third base on the same play to give Iowa–Grant a 1–0 lead.

Senior Luke Fillback walked to lead off the IG bottom of the fifth. Cartwright roped a one-out double to drive in senior Andrew Winders, who ran for Fillback. After a strikeout, Hill delivered an RBI single to center to plate Cartwright for a 3–0 lead.

Hill, who cruised through the first five innings on just 66 pitches walked Fennimore’s Landon Miles on five pitches to lead off the sixth, and Riemenapp opted to play it safe and lift his ace after just 71 pitches an a no-hitter in tact because it was the first game of the year and he wanted to protect Hill’s arm. 

After Miles advanced on a passed ball, and Jacob Henkel doubled off Cartwright. Senior Druw Fifrick’s RBI singled to right to plate Fennimore’s first run, then Kenney grounded out to shortstop to drive in another run to make it 3–2.

Cartwright got out of the jam by inducing a comebacker by Devin Kreul to end the inning. 

Fennimore sophomore starting pitcher Lucas Lendosky walked to lead off the top of the seventh, before Cartwright struck out pinch hitter Cameron Winkers. Hill then made a diving stop on Adkins grounder to the right side for the second out of the inning, then Cartwright struck out Miles to end the game.

Lendosky took the loss, allowing three runs, two earned on five hits and two walks in five innings in his first varsity start. He struck out eight Panthers.

“Fennimore is a good team and Lendosky threw a great game,” said Riemenapp. “We had zero errors and put the ball in play when we needed to. Isaac pitched great, but that was the first game pitched all year. It was also a great opportunity for Josh Cartwright to come in and close.” 

The Panthers (2–2, 1–1 SWAL) will travel to Darlington for a SWAL doubleheader Friday. IG will return home to host Riverdale on Tuesday at Jinkins Fields.

Iowa–Grant 3, Fennimore 2
(from Tuesday, April 27 @ Livingston)
Fennimore  000 002 0 —   2   2  4
Iowa–Grant  000 120 x —   3   4  0 
Leading hitters — IG: Josh Cartwright 3x3. 2B — F: Jacob Henkel, IG: Cartwright. 
W — Isaac Hill (1–0, 5IP, 0H, 1R, 1ER, 7K, 2BB). L — Lucas Lendosky (0–1, 5IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, 8K, 2BB). SV — Josh Cartwright (1, 2IP, 2H, 1ER, 2K, 1BB).