Liberty Hill softball falls to Burnet

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First baseman Sam Barnett makes the catch for the out during the Lady Panthers’ loss to Burnet Tuesday night. (Alex Rubio Photo)

First baseman Sam Barnett makes the catch for the out during the Lady Panthers’ loss to Burnet Tuesday night. (Alex Rubio Photo)

By LAUREN JETTE

Behind 17 strikeouts by Burnet pitcher Makenzie Carpenter, the Lady Dawgs topped Liberty Hill 6-4 Tuesday night to knock the Lady Panthers into second place in district after the first round of games.

“I don’t think we played our best,” said head coach Charice Hankins.

“I thought our energy was good in the first and second and sixth and seventh innings. In the middle, we kind of went into a little dip, a little dry spell and I think emotionally, they just got down and didn’t have a lot of excitement.”

Burnet struck early and big in the top of the first inning by putting two runners on base before a homerun sent three across home plate.

The Lady Panthers responded with a run in the bottom of the inning.

In the third inning, the first two Burnet players were walked and a single loaded the bases. The next batter laid down a short hit to Liberty Hill pitcher Nicole Thiem, who overthrew to first base, allowing two runners to score to increase the Lady Dawg lead to 5-1.

Kinsey Kuhlman bunted to reach first base to lead off the batting order for the Lady Panthers. Sam Barnett followed with her ninth home run off the fence to cut the lead.

Joely Williamson followed with her ninth homerun to pull the Lady Panthers within one of the Lady Dawgs.

Burnet’s final run came in the fifth inning, on another Liberty Hill error, as a throw to third base was over thrown, allowing the Lady Dawg runner to score to put Burnet up 6-4.

With such a dominating performance from Carpenter on the mound for Burnet, there weren’t too many opportunities for the Lady Panthers to score.

“She’s good, we’ve seen her for four years and she’s the same kid she’s been for the last four years and the two errors we made cost us, I think, the game,” Hankins said. “Two runs scored on one and then the homerun that we gave up shouldn’t have been a homerun, that’s three runs right there. That’s five runs that normally I don’t think we’d be giving up. The opportunities that cost us runs and hopefully we don’t do that next time.”

While the loss leaves Burnet as the only undefeated team in district and moves Liberty Hill into a tie for second with Lampasas currently with 3-1 records, Hankins doesn’t think the loss will derail the Lady Panthers’ season.

“I think we’ll be okay. They beat us there and we beat them here (last year) so hopefully we’ll go there and beat them,” she said.

Last Friday’s game against Lampasas was cancelled due to weather, so Liberty Hill will have to make that game up and it will be an important game after both teams and Burnet finished in a three-way tie.

“It’s going to be a showdown. Last year it was Lampasas, Liberty Hill and Burnet, we all split. So I’m hoping we don’t split with everybody again,” Hankins said.

“I’m hoping we take care of our business and I think that we can. Burnet is a good team, 17 strikeouts, not much you can do with that. We need the middle and bottom of our lineup to do better.”

Kuhlman recorded a single and 2 runs scored. Barnett hit a double, homerun, 3 RBIs and a run scored. Williamson hit a single, homerun, 3 RBIs and run scored. Haylee Park and Kandyn Faurie both recorded singles.

Thiem pitched six innings with 11 strikeouts and five hits and 6 runs to make her record 12-3.

Kaity Sullivan pitched the final inning with a strikeout and two hits.

Liberty Hill is 17-7 on the season.

The Lady Panthers’ batting lineup will get a chance to recover from the loss against Llano at home Friday night. There will not be a junior varsity game, only varsity at 6 p.m.

In the first matchup earlier this season, Liberty Hill run-ruled the Lady Jackets 14-2. Liberty Hill will travel to Taylor Tuesday. The Lady Panthers run-ruled the Lady Ducks 14-1.

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