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Lady Panthers give up six in fifth to fall 6-2 to Christian Academy

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By Kristin Beck

One bad inning was the difference in an otherwise tight game between Carroll County and Christian Academy of Louisville. The Lady Centurions scored six runs in the top of the fifth and went on to win, 6-2, on senior night, May 16.

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The Lady Panthers celebrated the careers of the team’s six seniors before the game: Michaela Culver, Sarah Hawkins, Kelsey Ogden, Mackenzie Ogden, Kayla Williamson and Brittany Yocum.

“I’m disappointed, but we played some good innings,” head coach Dennis Hawkins said. “We always have a bad inning it seems like in our losses. We got one inning going there pretty good and things didn’t go our way. That’s the way the ball bounces, I reckon.”

Following the offensive spurt, the Lady Panthers responded with a pair of home runs. Mackenzi Hawkins led off the bottom of the fifth with a solo blast over the center field wall. Haley Dermon singled with one out, but the Lady Panthers were not able to capitalize.

In the bottom of the sixth, Mackenzie Ogden led off with a solo home run over the right field fence in her last home at-bat as a Lady Panther. Ogden returned to the field after sitting out due to a knee injury that will require offseason surgery.

Following her home run, cousin Kelsey Ogden walked and advanced to second on a push bunt single by Sarah Hawkins. Junior Mackenzi Hawkins singled to center field, but Kelsey Ogden was tagged out after rounding third toward home. A line out at second base ended the inning.

After taking the Lady Centurions down in order in the top of the seventh, the Lady Panthers followed suit to end the game.

“Christian Academy is a good team. They had good pitching, good hitters, good, sound hitters,” Hawkins said.

The teams appeared equally matched, as neither team made a run until the fifth. The Lady Centurions drew a leadoff walk, and Hannah Howes hit an RBI double to left for the first run. An error on a bunt play scored the second run and put a runner on base. With two outs, Christian Academy drew another walk. Two missed fly balls and a single and the visitors were up 5-0, prompting Hawkins to make a pitching change. He brought in Culver from left field. Christian Academy scored another run off a throwing error, but Culver was able to force a groundout to get out of the inning.

“We played some sound innings, just that one inning is the only inning I was disappointed in,” Hawkins said. “It seemed like everything happened: They hit the ball that inning, we made errors that inning and we struggled pitching that inning. But the rest of the game, like (assistant coach) Paul (Ogden) said, we outplayed them all except one inning. That same thing happened at Anderson County the other day and same thing happened to us in several games this year. But we can’t take it back; we’ve got to live with it.”

Hawkins said he took his daughter out to change the momentum of the game and to give the Lady Centurions a differentlook. “I had no intention of leaving her out. I just wanted to give her a break from the rubber for that one out and it worked.”

Hawkins said he is sad that the game ended the way it did, especially for the seniors. “It was a group loss, including myself.”

In describing this group of seniors, some of whom have been playing on varsity since they were seventh graders, Hawkins said, “Every one of them has their own personality and every one of them has contributed this year greatly.

“Mackenzie Ogden, she is a gutty performer and she plays through pain and injuries and helps the team defensively and offensively.

“The same thing with Williamson. She’s always making the plays and not worrying about getting dirty and always putting the bat on the ball … When we call timeout, she’s always got a plan and trying to help everybody get it going.

“Brittany, she is surprising. She’ll get up there and get two strikes on her and then drive one into center field or lay down a nice bunt. She’ll make the plays when she needs to most of the time.

“Kelsey, she’s always a pretty sound performer at third, always a threat to hit the ball hard and great base runner.

“Mack, she can unload on one any time. She has a good glove. She’s kind of the “mother hen” of the bunch that decides what uniforms we wear and kind of leads that department – the wardrobe, the ribbons.

“Sarah is just a silent pitcher that tries to get the ball to the plate to get them out somehow.”

The No. 1-seed in the 31st District Tournament, the Lady Panthers will play No. 4-seed Henry County. The Lady Cats defeated No. 5-seed Eminence, 15-0, in the first round Monday.

Hawkins said he hopes the team plays a full game and does not let up, even for one inning. He said the girls need to meet or exceed their opponent’s intensity and be aggressive.