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The Lady Panthers got off to a rough start Thursday, committing two errors and falling behind 2-0 to the Henry County Lady Cats in the first inning. But the girls shrugged it off and took care of business, winning 10-3.
Head coach Dennis Hawkins said the girls played much better and did a good job of regrouping quickly.
Henry’s lead off batter reached on a Carroll throwing error and scored their first run on a single to right field by Shelby Ray. Mikaela Cline singled, and Henry scored another run when Cheyenne Clark’s infield pop up fell to the ground.
But rather than hang their heads, the Lady Panthers took over at the plate. Haley Dermon hit a leadoff double to left field and scored on an RBI-single to right center by Kayla Williamson. Mackenzie and Kelsey Ogden walked to load the bases for Michaela Culver, who singled to shallow center field to tie the game, 2-2. Sarah Hawkins followed with an RBI single to left field, 3-2.
Henry County made a pitching substitution, bringing in Paige Deburger for Alyson Stanley. With bases loaded, Brittany Yocum hit a sac fly to center to score another run, 4-2.
Confident from their offense, the Lady Panthers sat down the Lady Cats in order the next inning, bringing them back up to the plate.
With two outs, Mackenzie Ogden drew a walk, and Kelsey Ogden hit a double off the left field fence. Culver hit a fly ball to center field to score the Ogdens, 6-2, and advanced to second on the throw. Henry second baseman Olivia Whaley tagged Culver, but she was safe. When Whaley threw the ball back to the pitcher, she hit Culver in the facemask of her batting helmet with her arm. Culver shooed Whaley’s hand away from her face, and the field umpire immediately ejected Culver from the game and called the final out of the inning.
Culver will serve a two-game suspension as a result of the incident. Carroll County’s next two games were at Trimble April 18 and home against Shelby County April 21.
After the game, Hawkins said he did not see the incident from his spot as third base coach, but was just disappointed in the situation and that Culver would have to miss two games. “We’re going to miss her,” he said.
Neither team had any offensive action in the third inning, however Henry County started off the fourth with a bang. Clark homered to center field to pull her team within three, 6-3. But the Lady Cats couldn’t capitalize on the momentum, giving the bat back to the Lady Panthers.
Carroll led off with a pair of singles by Houston Lindsey and Dermon. Williamson hit a line drive back at the pitcher, hitting her leg. Deburger was not injured, but Carroll scored a run on the play. Mackenzie Ogden followed with a 2-RBI double off the centerfield fence, 9-3. Kelsey Ogden followed suit with an RBI double down the left field line for Carroll’s last run of the game, 10-3.
Hawkins said he was happy to get a win over a pretty good district team. “They’re a competitive team, and they did not quit tonight,” Hawkins said of the Lady Cats. “We just kept them from getting momentum. Our team played well all through the lineup. Everybody did something positive tonight.”
Sarah Hawkins earned the win on the mound, giving up nine hits, no walks and striking out five batters.
Hawkins said his team is hitting hard and “on a line” right now.
“Our hitting is coming around. We picked up on our hitting the way we finished the Gallatin County game … Our defense was great. We got the lead runner several times and that helped stop their momentum.”