Lady Panthers remain undefeated in district
By Joseph Garcia
The Lady Panther softball team has completed its first half of district play with a perfect 5-0 record. But Coach Charice Hankins and her girls had to scrape and fight in their last two games to get there.
On March 30, Liberty Hill (17-6, 5-0) traveled to Lampasas for what is seemingly always a close clash.
Down by four runs (1-5) with only two innings to work with, Liberty Hill stormed back in the sixth by batting around to take a 9-5 lead, most of the time with two outs.
The rally began and ended with Lorrie Potts at the plate, who drilled an RBI single to close the lead to 5-2.
After a ground out and a pop out, the Lady Panthers were down to their final four outs, and one in the inning.
With two outs, Paige Lafferty legged out an infield single that scored two runs, cutting the Badger lead to 5-4.
After back-to-back walks, Kourtney Bevers stepped up to the plate and nailed a single with the bases loaded to score two more runs that gave the Lady Panthers the lead 6-5. Courtney Weems and Bailey Browder followed with a 2 RBI double and a RBI single to increase the Liberty Hill lead to 9-5.
“The sixth inning was awesome,” said Coach Hankins. “We started hitting the ball hard and at them, and it seemed to shake the defense up a little bit. Then, we just had some all out rips that sparked a rally that seemed to effect every batter. It was great to see and I was very proud of the way they fought and did not give up. They stuck together and seemed to rise to the occasion.”
The two-out rally pushed Liberty Hill over the top for a 9-6 victory.
“It was a great battle with Lampasas,” Hankins said. “It is every time we play them. It’s always tight and always tough. Our seniors are really being leaders on the field and at the plate, and our team is responding. Great team win.”
On Tuesday, April 3, the Lady Panthers hosted an always-competitive Burnet team to try and remain undefeated in District 25-3A.
Liberty Hill quickly pounced on Burnet, scoring five runs in the first inning using five singles that all went to center field and a 2 RBI double by Potts for the final touches.
“We had 10 hits, we hit the ball well early, but I thought that we left too many runners on (base),” Hankins said. “I’m real happy with the way we played though. It’s exciting for Liberty Hill and it’s always exciting when we play Burnet.”
The Lady Panthers added two more runs in the fourth, and eventually went on to win 8-3.
Bevers ended up with 11 strikeouts on the evening, which was good for her eighth win of the season (8-0).
With the first round of district games over, Hankins message to her team is to keep pushing.
“I just keep telling them that their goal is to be district champs,” she said. “That’s one of their first goals and we have a big target on our front and out back. I keep telling them they have to work hard, fight and not take anything for granted. Every run counts. Every ball we have to play hard and we have to protect it.”
The Lady Panthers will host Salado on Thursday, April 5, at 6:45 p.m.