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The Lady Panthers defeated Walton-Verona, 7-1, in the opening round at Carroll County to earn a second round game at Trimble County in the 8th Region All-A Classic.
Kelsey Ogden hit a grand slam in the third inning and followed it up with another home run in the sixth to propel her team to the win over the Lady Bearcats.
“Kelsey is the type player that steps up when she needs to step up,” head coach Dennis Hawkins said. “She had a good pitcher on the mound, and she was determined that that pitcher was not going to throw a ball by her and that she was going to battle until something good happened and that’s what happened. Then I think the second time up, that pitcher decided she was going to strike her out or put her down and show she was the dominate pitcher, but (Kelsey) was able to stand in there and have the mentality to show her she could hit as well as she could pitch.”
With the win, the Lady Panthers traveled to Bedford to battle the Lady Raiders, who had a first round bye.
Carroll County scored 18 runs off of 18 hits to defeat the host team, 18-1. The girls played Gallatin County in the regional championship, but lost 4-3.
“No excuses for what happened here. It was ridiculous,” Trimble head coach Tonya Black said. “… I told them next game there is going to be some changes happening. I still have a lot of confidence in this team. I think that we have a great team, but sometimes we just don’t show up to play and today was one of those days.”
Hawkins said his team executed well and did what it needed to do. “(We) hit the pitches we were supposed to hit and let the other pitches go,” he said. “We ran the bases real well, everybody was alert, everybody was into the game. Pitching was good, and I don’t know what else to say about it other than it was a good game for us.”
Carroll County started things off with a run in the top of the first. Mackenzie Ogden hit a leadoff single past shortstop, and Kelsey Ogden hit a sac fly to left to bring her home.
Trimble put two runners on in their half – a leadoff walk by Jesse Dunlap and a single to right center by Paige Black – but two strikeouts by Carroll pitcher Sarah Hawkins ended the inning.
In the top of the second, Mackenzi Hawkins hit a leadoff double off the centerfield fence and advanced on a passed ball. Brittany Yocum laid down a bunt to the pitcher and beat out the throw to first, getting on and scoring Carroll’s second run. Jenah Roberts followed with an RBI double to right, 3-0, and Mackenzie Ogden brought her home with a single past second base.
Trimble decided to make a pitching change, bringing in Tabitha Gosman for starting pitcher Leyna Ritter.
“Leyna does a good job, but when you start getting five and six hits the first two innings, it’s time to make a change,” Black said. “Nothing against Leyna; she can throw the ball well. She’s got a nice change up. We just thought we’d try somebody different.”
Gosman walked two batters, but got the Lady Raiders out of the inning without any more damage done.
With one out in the bottom half, Gosman singled to shallow left, but that was all the home team could muster.
The Lady Panthers got hot in the top of the third, and the Lady Raiders began getting discouraged.
Mackenzi Hawkins led off with a single to left field and advanced to second after Trimble was slow to get the ball in. Yocum laid down another perfect RBI bunt and was safe at first after an error. Roberts hit a hard single to shortstop Paige Black, but the throw was out of the reach of first baseman Michaela Roberts, allowing Yocum to score. Jenah Roberts advanced to third and scored on a throw down error by the catcher, 7-0.
Haley Dermon singled to right, advanced on a groundout and stole third base. Dermon scored on another throw down between the catcher and third that sailed into left field, 8-0.
Kayla Williamson kept things going with a walk, and Kelsey Ogden singled to left. Sarah Hawkins got on with a bunt single to load the bases. Michaela Culver grounded to second, but Williamson beat out the throw home, 9-0.
Back at the top of the order, Mackenzi Hawkins hit a triple down the first base line that found its way into the rightfield corner. The hit scored three Lady Panthers, but Hawkins did not have enough juice left in the tank to turn an inside-the-park home run, as she was thrown out at the plate by second baseman Menia Cabada. Black ended the inning for the Lady Raiders on the next play, fielding a grounder at shortstop.
Trimble scored its only run in the game in the bottom of the third. Sydney Weaver got on with a walk, and Black hit an RBI double to put her team on the board, 12-1.
The Lady Panthers loaded the bases again in the bottom of the fourth on singles by Dermon, Mackenzie Ogden and Williamson. Kelsey Ogden hit a line drive to Cabada that appeared caught, but the field umpire ruled was not. But Cabada was aware of the situation and got the out at home plate.
Dermon scored on a passed ball, and Culver hit a single over the second base bag to score two more, 15-1.
The last runs came in the top of the fifth, as Carroll’s top three hitters took care of business. Yocum drew a walk, and leadoff Mackenzie Ogden hit an RBI double to center field. Williamson followed with her own RBI double to right center, and Kelsey Ogden hit an RBI single back up the middle of the infield, 18-1.
“Tabby did a nice job,” Coach Black said. “They started hitting her toward the end, but any good hitter is going to hit no matter what and I think Carroll County has excellent hitters. They’ve really improved this year, tremendously and good for them, but I still think we’re going to get them eventually.”
Black said her team works on hitting daily and drives the ball well in practice, but it is not translating to games. She said the team also is lacking a few people defensively, which is probably also going to change. “I’m not saying people are going to come out or not start or something like that, but we’re going to have to rearrange a lot of things,” she said. “… It’s still way early and we’re still way young. So, we’ve got a lot of learning to do still.”
While her team does not usually get down on itself, they did not bounce back well after mistakes against Carroll like they did against North Oldham. “Once it went, it went downhill quick,” Black said. “And when you’re down 7-0, very hard to come back in softball, very hard.”
On the other side of the field, Hawkins was proud of his team’s all around performance. “As long as we keep playing team ball and everybody keeps doing their job,” he said, “I think we’ll be alright.”