Panning Makes Noise on the Gridiron and Diamond Over Labor Day Weekend

Posted on September 4th, 2018 by

In the academic realm, Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer and the start of school. This year, Labor Day weekend marked another type of transition, or overlap in this case, for one Gustavus student-athlete in particular. Gustavus football and baseball player Brice Panning (Jr., Hamburg, Minn.) had an eventful weekend, leading the Gustie football team in receiving Saturday afternoon and then playing in the Minnesota state amateur baseball tournament that night and Sunday.

On the gridiron Saturday afternoon, Panning hauled in a team-high seven catches for 143 yards in a 32-20 victory at Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minn. and then hopped in a car and travelled to New Prague, Minn. where he started in center field for the Young America Cardinals, batting 2-for-5 with three RBI in a 5-4 win over 2016 state champion Raymond.

“It was a grind,” Panning said. “My town team coach had two different lineups made pending on if I’d be there by game time. I got to the field three minutes before the game started so I quickly stretched as much as possible without playing much catch. And I hadn’t took any batting practice either. My body was very sore but I knew I couldn’t leave my other team behind in the biggest game of the season.”

And that’s not all…

Saturday night’s win advanced Panning and the Cardinals to the state quarterfinals Sunday where they proceeded to defeat New Market 4-3 in 14 innings. Panning once again started in center and batted second in the lineup, all while tying a state tournament record with six hits in a game. Panning went 6-for-8 with three RBI, including the game-winning hit… twice. Of course, only one of those hits counted as the official game-winning hit, but in the bottom of the 12th inning Panning delivered a base knock and the runner who would have scored hopped over home plate in celebration and never touched, forcing the umpire to call him out. On to the 14th, Panning once again connected for a RBI hit and this time the runner made sure to touch the plate.

“I think I swung at the first pitch on four of the hits,” Panning said. “I was just trying to be aggressive since I hadn’t had a ton of batting practice in the past few days.”

The postseason run came to an end later in the day for Panning and Young America as they lost in the semifinals a tightly-contested 2-1 decision to 2015 state champion Sobieski.

Panning wasn’t the only Gustie to play and have success in the state tournament.

The Plato Blue Jays won the Class C state championship and on that squad are current and former Gustie baseball players Ryan Moriarty (Sr., Le Sueur, Minn.) and Nolan Lepel ’18. Lepel was also a member of Plato’s 2015 state championship team and this year was named to the All-Tournament Team.

 

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