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Mistakes and missed opportunities put North Lamar Pantherettes in a 1-0 hole to begin playoff series

Madison Morrison delivers a pitch against Bullard in Game 1 of North Lamar's Area round matchup.
Madison Morrison delivers a pitch against Bullard in Game 1 of North Lamar’s Area round matchup.

It was a game of mistakes and missed opportunities. That’s the way North Lamar softball coach Jimmy Fendley would describe Thursday’s game 1 loss to Bullard. North Lamar had their chances but in the end too many mistakes would be the difference in the 3-2 loss.

Bullard scored all three of their runs due to mistakes by the Panthers defense. Two errant throws to first base allowed Bullard a few extra at bats. Those extra plate appearances proved to be costly as all three runs were unearned.

Bullard led off the scoring in the top of the second inning. A single, a sacrifice bunt and an error scored Hana Woyt.

North Lamar would respond quickly, though. Delaney England led off the bottom of the 2nd with a single but made it to second on an error by the right fielder. After Bailee Nickerson and Madison Morrison both reached to load the bases, Kayla Igleheart worked a walk to score England.

A passed ball would score Nickerson to give the Pantherettes a 2-1 lead. The score would remain that way until the fifth inning. That’s when Bullard was able to score two more runs to take the 3-2 lead over North Lamar.

Bullard batter Nikki Johnson led off the inning with a single. Zoe Hancock executed a sacrifice bunt but a throwing error allowed her to reach safely. The error allowed Johnson to take third and Hancock moved to second.

A groundout scored Johnson while a single by Coco Springer pushed Hancock across the plate. That was all the scoring in the game; however North Lamar missed a golden opportunity in the bottom of the same inning. Bill Jones led off the inning with a routine grounder to the shortstop. However the throw sailed over the first basemen’s head. Jones took second on the play.

Lauren Coursey delivers the ball to first base during North Lamar's game against Bullard.
Lauren Coursey delivers the ball to first base during North Lamar’s game against Bullard.

During the next at bat, Jones stole third base. With Jones standing on third and nobody out North Lamar was in a prime position to tie the game. The next three batters, Igleheart, Tanna Huie, and Lauren Coursey all struck out to strand Jones at third.

“We have leadoff at third and we’ve got nine, one, two coming up,” Fendley said. “I expect the ball to be put in play…we had three straight strikeouts. That hurt.”

That was the last chance North Lamar would have to tie the game. Morrison went the distance in the circle for North Lamar. The freshman allowed six hits, three runs (all unearned) and struck out one.

At the plate, North Lamar struggled putting the ball into play. North Lamar struck out nine times at the plate and Fendley knows that’s not going to get the job done.

“Their pitcher’s good,” he said. “She didn’t throw as many rise balls today. She worked us in and out. We took too many called strikes….We can’t do that. We have to get after it when the ball’s in the zone.”

North Lamar will have another shot at Bullard as they will play game 2 Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m. in Mineola. If necessary, game 3 will be played 30 minutes after game 2 is completed.