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On Friday night, the North Lamar Pantherettes returned to Grand Saline – the location of last year’s playoff exit. Once again, they would face a Henderson team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year. Last season, the two teams played a three game series, with Henderson winning the first and last game while the Pantherettes took the middle game.
This year, however, the two teams would play one game with the winner moving on and the loser having their season end. From the very beginning of the game, North Lamar had trouble with the overpowering pitcher from Henderson. Tiarra Davis is a hard throwing left-handed pitcher that has already signed on to play college softball at the University of Texas. North Lamar managed only seven base runners for the game and only had two hits against Davis as they fell to Henderson 9-3.
Haley Hostetler managed one of those hits and she had two of the five walks for the Pantherettes. Kodi McKnight got the other hit for North Lamar. Sarah Penrose started the game on the mound for Coach Fendley.
Davis led off the game for Henderson with a solo home run and they never looked back as they put up four runs in the first inning. They added four more in the fourth inning and it was 8-0. North Lamar would put up three runs in the fifth inning but it wasn’t enough offense to compete with Henderson’s nine runs on 16 hits.
Coach Fendley knew his girls would have to play a complete game to beat Henderson. Henderson went to State last season and had some key players returning from that team.
Crandall – North Lamar came into Thursday’s first round playoff game against Crandall with much anticipation. North Lamar finished third in District 13-3A and was looking to hopefully advance. Crandall, meanwhile, entered the playoff with a 20-9 record overall and a 6-2 mark in District 14-3A.
North Lamar quickly got on the board in the top of the first as two walks by Crandall’s pitcher Brendan Gilbert and an RBI groundout by Eric Dickey put the Panthers up 1-0. That would be all the offensive production the Panthers would have, however. The bottom of the first saw a home run to lead off the inning by Ryan Long. A walk, an error and a passed ball allowed another runner to score for the Pirates and they took a 2-1 lead into the second inning.
Both pitchers settled down after the first inning and the game sailed along. Daniel Gibbons would strike out 11 batters while North Lamar could not hit the Brendan Gilbert curve ball. Gibbons also picked off three base runners. The score would remain 2-1 until the bottom of the fifth inning. That’s when Ryan Long launched another home run off of Gibbons. This time it was a 2-run shot.
With Crandall leading 4-1, Gibbons walked the first batter he faced in the sixth inning and that was the end of his night. Coach Igleheart called on the freshman Hunter Reeves to try and close out the game for the Panthers. Unfortunately, the Crandall bats were just getting warmed up. After loading up the bases, Nate Banks hit a grand slam off of Reeves. Gilbert had a single and Long hit an RBI double to the base of the right field wall. Several hits later and Crandall had scored 7 runs in the inning, therefore ending the game early with the ten-run rule after six innings.
Although the score shows 11-1, the game was much closer than it appeared. North Lamar fans should be optimistic for tonight’s matchup as the two teams face off again, but this time they play at North Lamar. Game time is set for 7:30.
Paris, TX – North Lamar High School senior Kara Erickson, three-time Region 2 3A Champion, cleared 5’10” to set the new regional high jump record. She will go on to compete at the Track and Field State Meet on Saturday, May 11 at the University of Texas Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin.
Haley Hostetler, Senior
Samantha Flippen, Senior
Kara Erickson, Senior
Lexie Chancellor, Junior
Lexie Stephens, Sophomore
The North Lamar Pantherettes started off slow against Kaufman on Friday night but rallied in a big way as they won 14-4 in game 1. Kaufman jumped out to a 4-0 lead before the Pantherettes’ bats started to show up. The 14 run out put was highlighted by a 7 run fourth inning. Jessica Jones had 4 hits for North Lamar to go with 3 RBI. Heather Hodges had 1 hit and 3 RBI as well.
The two teams squared off again on Saturday night and the results were almost identical. This time, however, it was North Lamar that jumped out on top. The Pantherettes scored 5 runs in the first two innings on their way to a 13-5 victory. Tanna Huie led the way for North Lamar as she had 5 hits and 5 RBI. Jessica Jones also hit a home run for the Pantherettes.
With the two victories, North Lamar advances to play Henderson on Friday night in Grand Saline. Henderson knocked North Lamar out of the playoffs last year, winning 2 out of 3 against North Lamar.