Prep Softball: Eagles get even with Panthers
East Davidson was focused on using Thursday's nonconference game as preparation for the playoffs. Ledford had their focus on Friday's key conference game with Southern Guilford.
Advantage Golden Eagles.
Poised to exact revenge on their rivals from Wallburg for an earlier loss this season, East got a great pitching performance from Brooke Walser and got hits when needed in a 5-1 victory. Walser struck out six Panthers and went 2-for-3 at the plate to help East move its season record to 7-6. Bayley Plummer added a solo home run while finishing 2-for-3. Sydney Bowles also added a 2-for-3 effort.
“As far as conference goes it does not mean a whole lot, but I told the girls these are games that we have to use in order to prepare for state playoffs,” said East coach Amanda Akins. “The intensity has really picked up for us in the dugout and on the field. It is just finally starting to fall together for us.”
LHS head coach Charlie Brown believes his team fell victim to looking ahead. He took full responsibility admitting his focus was on Friday's MPC game with the third-place Storm.
“I did a really, really good job of downplaying this game and the importance of Friday's conference game,” joked Brown. “That is my fault because they sure showed up with no focus for this game. They were zeroed in on Friday's game. This is my fault for setting up their focus this way.”
Scoreless through an inning, the Panthers scratched for their lone run in the second. Bayleigh Griffith hit a leadoff single and eventually scored on a full-count single by Jessie Hayworth.
East got the run back in the next half inning. Plummer hit a leadoff single and moved over to third on Walser's double. Bowles followed with a double of her own down the third base line, driving in Plummer for a 1-1 tie.
In the third, Walser overcame a leadoff double by Brinley Irvin to keep the Panthers at one run. Her teammates gave her a lead to work with in the bottom half.
Robbed at the fence in her first plate appearance, Morgan Key hit the base of the fence for a double to drive home courtesy runner Sarah Bowles. Three batters later Sydney Bowles singled in Key to put the Eagles up another run at 3-1.
Ledford put runners on in every inning, but did not look like themselves at the plate. Walser was a big reason why.
“Good pitching beats good hitting any day, every day,” said Brown. “She pitched an outstanding game. Their pitcher beat us today.”
Plummer launched an opposite-field home run in the fifth to pad the lead by one, then Selena Metcalf singled in Ally Wike, who had doubled to start the sixth inning for the final East run.
“We have finally found our bats,” said Akins. “I do not know where they were hiding but am glad they are finally here. The girls are producing and we are making more contact now.”
Mary Davis was one of three LHS pitchers to enter the circle and took the loss as the starter for the 12-3 Panthers. Hayworth was 3-for-3 and Griffith had two hits for Ledford.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.