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Lady Panthers ground Rockets, 9-3

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By Kristin Beck

Kelsey Ogden’s three-run homer to left center helps lift the Lady Panthers to a 9-3 victory over Shelby County Monday.

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Carroll County jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first, but committed two errors in the top of the fifth to allow Shelby County to draw within one run. But the Lady Panthers dug in and scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth to pull away.

“I was happy when we started out, I was sad in the middle and I was happy in the end,” head coach Dennis Hawkins said. “We kind of got in a coasting mode, and I felt like we lost our aggressiveness and our momentum. Then we finally got it back there the last couple of innings. … If we can keep our emotions in the game we will be pretty good. If we start getting down on ourselves and start messing up on routine plays and then we kind of get down on ourselves.”

Hawkins praised his team for rallying and cheering on their teammates in the bottom of the sixth, from the dugout. That energy helped fuel the momentum swing in Carroll County’s favor.

Haley Dermon got things going for Carroll County in the top of the first with a leadoff walk and stolen base. Kayla Williamson brought her home with an RBI double to left field. Kelsey Ogden took her base after catching a pitch in her back. With two outs, Mackenzi Hawkins hit a two-RBI double to right field, 3-0.

Neither team could capitalize on a couple hits in the middle innings, as the next score came in the top of the fifth. The Lady Panthers allowed an infield popup to fall in and missed a catch at first base to allow two unearned runs to cross the plate.

But with the game on the line, Carroll County made plays. In the bottom of the sixth, Mackenzi Hawkins led off with a grounder pastthe second baseman. Brittany Yocum drew a walk, and Houston Lindsey laid down a bunt to move the runners. Jenah Roberts bunted back to the pitcher, who fielded it and checked Mackenzi at third to load the bases. Dermon followed with a two-RBI single to left center, 5-2. With two outs, Mackenzie Ogden hit an RBI single to left, followed by Kelsey Ogden’s home run blast to left center, 9-2. “That was a big pick up for her and hopefully that picks her up for the rest of the season,” Hawkins said.

But Shelby County did not go down quietly as two infield groundballs and an error loaded the bases for the Lady Rockets. With one out, Shelby County was called for runner interference after the player ran into Williamson at second base attempting to field a grounder. Two runs scored on the play, but the umpires only made one return to third base. Fortunately, the next batter grounded out to Williamson to end the game.

Coach Hawkins said he thought Sarah Hawkins pitched another good game, the outfield played great, and “I can’t think of any mistakes we made in the outfield. He said the infielders also stopped a couple hard-hits balls.

“At least we took care of business,” Hawkins said.