Lady Panthers trip Terry; clinch division title

Published 5:00 am Thursday, October 4, 2001

TERRY – What a difference one game can make in a season full ofups and downs. For the Brookhaven Lady Panther slowpitch softballteam, that game was Tuesday night against division foe Terry in theLady Bulldogs’ backyard.

The Division 6-4A championship was on the line as both teamsgeared up for the single game showdown. Action got off to a slowstart, but the Lady Panthers were able to overcome severalobstacles and bring home a 7-6 win over the Lady Bulldogs.

Brookhaven travels to Wesson on Thursday afternoon. The firstpitch of the varsity game begins at 4:30 p.m.

Brookhaven 7, Terry 6

“I didn’t know how we would react to it,” saidBrookhaven head coach Lisa Covington. She was referring to the latestarting time for the game which was originally set for 5:30 p.m.but didn’t begin until shortly before 7. There seemed to bescheduling problem, as one of the late-arriving officials thoughtthe game was to be played on Thursday.

The Lady Panthers started out the season with severaldisappointing losses. Brookhaven shook off the early season blues,to reclaim the Division 6-4A title for the first time in 2years.

“It feels good to win it,” echoed Covington as shedisparately tried to avoid the post-game water cooler shower fromher jubilant team.

Terry (8-8, 2-2) did have a say-so about the outcome ofthis game, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. JessicaMcGinn singled. Two batters later, pitcher Melanie Keen singled.McGinn scored on a fielding error by Brookhaven.

The Lady Bulldogs increased their lead to 3-0 in thethird, when Megan Prince and Katie Chancellor scored runs. Terrytook advantage of 2 Brookhaven errors in the innings to score bothruns.

Brookhaven (10-9, 3-0) came to life in the top of thethird to take a 4-3 lead. Courtney Fielder reached on a 2-baseerror by Terry. Megan Bateman walked. Chuvaquah Smith walked toload the bases. Ginny Dunaway reached on a fielder’s choice,scoring Fielder. Devine Porter singled to score Smith. SamanthaBoutwell singled to score Dunaway. Dunaway advanced to second onthe throw-in, and moved to third on a fielding error by the LadyBulldogs. That error allowed Porter to score.

Terry retook the lead at 5-4 in the bottom of the third.Melissa Prouty reached on an error. Two batters later, BrookeLincoln’s sacrifice fly scored Prouty. Two batters later, D’wannaBrown’s single scored Lincoln.

Brookhaven tied the game at 5-5 in the fourth. CatcherLizzie Wilson reached on a 2-base error. Two batters later, AshleySykes singled to score Wilson.

The Lady Panthers reclaimed the lead for good, at 7-5 inthe sixth. Chaquita Rancifer reached on an error. Two batterslater, Shameka Gilmore singled to score Rancifer and advanced tosecond on an error. Two batters later, Mandy Vinson reached on anerror that allowed Gilmore to cross home plate.

Terry added one run in the bottom of the sixth. It wouldnot be enough as the Brookhaven defense tightened its grip on theLady Bulldogs in the seventh to record a 1-2-3 inning.

“Our defense came through for us tonight,” saidCovington. “They stepped it up big tonight.”

Despite both teams combining for 13 errors (Terry had 7)and the late start time, championship gold returned to Brookhaven.The Lady Panthers will host an opening round of the state playoffs,Oct. 16, facing the Division 5-4A runner-up in a best 2-of-3format.

Porter led the offensive assault for the Lady Panthers.Porter went 3-for-4 with 3 singles, a run scored and a RBI. Dunawaysingled twice with a run scored and a RBI.

BROOKHAVEN 7, TERRY 6

Brookhaven 004 102 0 – 7 10 6

Terry 122 001 0 – 6 7 7

WP: Mandy Vinson (10-8). LP: Melanie Keen (8-8).Multiple Hits: Dunaway (B) 2, Porter (B) 3, Keen (T)2.