After sweeping their way through district, the North Lamar Pantherettes looked as ready as ever for the playoffs to start on Friday night at Chisum High School. Their Bi-district matchup with Kilgore was supposed to start on Thursday in Quitman, but rain forced the game to be moved to Friday.
Despite the change of venue and rain falling for the first hour of the game on Friday, it didn’t take long for North Lamar to assert themselves as the better team as they swept Kilgore 23–0 and 20–0.
In the two games combined, Kilgore only managed one hit and four base runners. Jaycie Hall pitched all five innings in game one, allowing no hits and walking two batters. She also finished with 11 strikeouts. Karsyn Iltis took to the circle in game two, giving up just one hit. She struck out four. The other batter reached due to an error.
Game one started with North Lamar batting. The Pantherettes sent 15 batters to the plate and scored 12 of them. In the inning, Sloane Hill finished with two hits and she drove in six runners. The first three came with the bases loaded. Macy Richardson led off the game with a single. Noel Rainey walked and Iltis was hit by a pitch. Hill took the first pitch she saw and drove it to left center. The ball rolled all the way to the wall for a bases-clearing double.
The next time she came up to bat in the inning, the bases were loaded again. Noel Rainey came home on a passed ball to make the score 9–0. On the next pitch, Hill hit a three-run homer over the center field fence to put the Pantherettes up 12–0.
“We came in the pregame and we were ready and focused,” Hill said after the game. “We feed off each other. My teammates got me hyped and I went out there and did my job.”
The second inning for North Lamar ended with almost the same results. The Pantherettes sent 14 batters to the plate, scoring 10 more runs in the process. This time it was Emma Layton with a home run. Layton’s home run wasn’t the traditional kind, though. With Claire Stewart on first and McKenzie Dickson on second, Layton hit a line drive over the third baseman’s head in foul territory. It got by the left fielder, allowing Layton to circle the bases for an inside the park home run.
Game two started much the same way. After a three up, three down top of the first, the Pantherettes went to work on offense. North Lamar sent 22 batters to the plate in the first inning and scored 18 runs. With one run across already in the inning, Hill stepped up to the plate with two runners on. Once again she planted the first pitch over the centerfield fence for a three-run homer.
“This is the most energy we’ve had from a team at the beginning of the game,” coach Ashley Endsley said after the game. “We were ready to play and it showed. We came out both first innings and we showed why we’re here and why we won both games tonight.”
Later in the inning Hill drove in two more runs on a hit to right field that scored Hannah Kent and Madison Reeves. In the first inning combined, Hill had 11 RBI’s for North Lamar. She finished with 13 total for the two games.
Once again North Lamar had an unconventional home run as well. This time it was off the bat off Macy Richardson. Her hit to center field in the first inning got all the way to the wall. Wit her speed, it was easy for Richardson to round the bases for the home run. Emma Layton also scored on the play.
“Hats off to the girls for coming out in the conditions,” Endsley continued. “Never making an excuse and just wanting to beat somebody and coming out and playing the right way.”
For the series Richardson finished with three RBIs, Noel Rainey had one, Jaycie Hall four, Iltis one, Hill 13, Claire Stewart one, Kate Rainey four and Emma Layton finished with six.