Rain delay cost Lady Panthers lead, win

Jessica Truax connects with a pitch during the Lady Panthers loss to Caldwell at home Friday night. (Alex Rubio Photo)

Jessica Truax connects with a pitch during the Lady Panthers loss to Caldwell at home Friday night. (Alex Rubio Photo)

By Lauren Jette

Rain delays ultimately cost the Lady Panthers softball team a 2-0 lead and win last Friday night, as Caldwell came back to win 4-3 in Liberty Hill.

“We had the 2-0 lead, and then that long, long rain delay and when they came back they scored two in that one inning,” said head coach Charice Hankins.

“We just let down a little bit. We started throwing the ball around and then not making good decisions, so they ended up tying it 2-2 and then they went up 4-2… Again, we made some decisions that just weren’t smart.”

Caldwell started the game by getting two runners on base, but Liberty Hill pitcher Nicole Thiem got the Lady Panthers out of the jam with three strikeouts.

Jessica Truax put Liberty Hill on the board in the second inning by turning on a pitch for a homerun. Haylee Park followed with a double and stole third base to get into scoring position, but the next three hitters struck out to end the inning.

Caldwell filled the bases in the third inning, but Thiem got the strikeout to end the scoring threat.

Kandyn Faurie got a base hit, and then scored on a double from Sam Barnett to put Liberty Hill up 2-0 before a rain delay.

A second rain delay occurred during the fourth inning.

Caldwell opened the fifth inning with a double, and then another double scored the Lady Hornets’ first run. The tying run was scored after the throw went to second base for the out instead of home plate.

“With two outs, we shouldn’t be throwing the ball to second base and letting a runner go in and score. That just wasn’t very smart,” Hankins said.

The Lady Hornets scored again in the sixth inning on a triple as two runners crossed home plate to up Caldwell’s lead to 4-2.

Liberty Hill answered in their next at-bat with a base hit and double. Truax got the RBI to cut the Caldwell lead to one, but the Lady Panthers struck out before tying the game.

“It’s funny, people will say, ‘oh the rain, or the wind’, but bottom line is this: it affected us, but it affected them too, but they responded differently than we did,” Hankins said after the game, which didn’t finish until almost 10 p.m.

“I think we had a little bit of a lull. I think when we had the 2-0 lead we were excited. We were playing, we were focused and then all of a sudden the rain delay and we got 2-2 and we lost our fire a little bit. It took us about an inning and a half to get it back. So for about an inning and a half, that’s when they did their damage.”

The Lady Panthers will enjoy a couple days off for spring break before opening district play at Llano Friday.

“The kids need some days off, they need to rest and need to relax. I think we’ve done a lot of learning. I think all three tournaments we’ve had 18 games, 19 games in three weeks,” Hankins said.

“I feel that they’ve learned a lot and as long as we can apply that, we’ll start. I think we’re ready to go. We’re starting phase two of the season and district and we’ll be ready for Llano. I think we’ll go in and hopefully just take care of business and refocus.”