For the first time in district play, the North Lamar Pantherettes found themselves trailing in a softball game. Midway through the fifth inning, the Pleasant Grove Lady Hawks led 3-2. The lead didn’t last long, however, as North Lamar would eventually walk away with a 7-3 win.
The bats struggled for both teams early, as they faced wind gusts near 25 mph. North Lamar didn’t get its first hit until the third inning, when Claire Stewart doubled to open the inning. Stewart would advance to third thanks to a single by Kate Rainey and she would score on an RBI single from Emma Layton.
“We were down and I decided I had to step up and take the lead,” Stewart said about her 3-for-3 performance at the plate. “My mentality at the plate was to just get a base hit. Not a home run. Just a base hit to get the scores in.”
Despite three straight hits to open the inning, the Pantherettes only managed to score one run. Stewart would factor into the next run as well. That time, it was her hit that drove in senior Karsyn Iltis in the fourth inning. Once again, though, North Lamar failed to score another run. This time they had the bases loaded with no outs.
“We came out flat footed and going through the motions,” head coach Ashley Endsley said after the game. “We showed our composure to come back and fight when we did get down.”
Pleasant Grove finally got on the board in the fifth inning, when they scored all three of their runs. Two errors and a double helped set the table for the Lady Hawks’ rally.
With one out in the fifth inning, the Pantherettes’ rally started with four straight hits. Noel Rainey got it going with a single to center field. Madi Reeves came in to pinch-run for Jaycie Hall after she singled. Iltis would then tie the game on a single to center field, which scored Rainey. McKenzie Dickson drove in both Reeves and Iltis with a hard hit to the outfield.
In the sixth, North Lamar got a little bit of insurance. Once again it was Stewart getting it going with a single. A walk and a hit batter loaded the bases for North Lamar with no outs. After Macy Richardson popped out to the third baseman, Noel Rainey lined a double that scored both Stewart and Kate Rainey.
“We really had a slow start and we got down,” Noel Rainey said after the game. “We had to pick it up and we had a whole lineup that knew that if there’s people on base in front of us, it’s your job to move runners anytime.”
Jaycie Hall pitched all seven innings for North Lamar. She gave up three unearned runs on five hits. She also struck out eight batters while walking one.
“I hope (this game) was (a wake up call),” Endsley said about having to play from behind. “In the long run this game can come back to help us if we learn from it.”
North Lamar will travel across town to play the Paris Ladycats on Friday at 6 p.m.