• 63°

Lady Panthers bite Lady Bears, 4-0 — Teams go scoreless until top of eighth

Seven innings wasn’t enough for either team to score a run Thursday night, but Brookhaven exploded for four runs in the top of the eighth to defeat West Lincoln 4-0.

With tough defense being played by both teams, neither was about to score a run throughout the regulation period of the game.

After seven innings, the score board still showed goose eggs. The Lady Panthers took advantage of the extra innings, scoring four runs and pitching a scoreless bottom of the eighth.

“Our defense was solid tonight,” Lady Panthers senior Haley Nations said. “I felt like I had a good night pitching, and we had a pretty good night on defense too.”

“When it came down to it, we came through in a clutch situation on offense,” Lady Panthers junior Kat Wallace said.

After getting the Lady Panthers to go three and out, the Lady Bears attempted to score first in the bottom half of the first as eighth-grader Bailee Goodson notched a single into left center. The Panthers stranded Goodson, striking out the next three batters.

Batting in the top half of the second, the Lady Panthers attempted to score their first run as Lynsey Nations notched a line drive single that made its way into shallow center field with two outs. The Lady Bears kept the game scoreless, however, getting the final out on a fielder’s choice.

The Panthers once again tried to get a run across the plate in their half of the third. With two outs, sophomore Madi Miller hit a line drive past third base. Wallace followed, reaching first on an error. The West Lincoln girls stranded the runners, getting a pop up at second base to end the innings.

In the top of the fourth, Lady Panthers senior Rileigh Allen led off with a line drive single to shallow center field. Senior Haley Nations followed with her own single into shallow center field. The Lady Bears once again stranded the runners, getting the next three batters out.

Neither team would get another hit again until the seventh inning.

“I think our offense struggled a little bit tonight to get going, and we really didn’t get going until the eighth inning,” Lady Panthers coach Mandy Vinson said. “I told the girls that I thought the Lord puts us into situations that we need the most. And I think he knew we needed to prepare for the playoffs a little bit more and needed a tough game. I think everything happens for a reason, and we needed that eighth inning for the girls to feel some pressure and to find a way to win the game.”

The Lady Panthers threatened to score in the top half of the seventh. With two outs, sophomore Meg Foster reached first on an error. Eighth-grader Kyja Willis followed with a single. Miller notched a single, loading up the bases. The West Lincoln girls escaped the jam, getting a ground out to end the inning.

The Lady Bears tried one more time to get a run on the board, in the final frame of the seventh, as eighth-grader Averi Paden notched a one out single up the middle. The Panthers ended the inning, striking out the final two batters.

With the score board scoreless after seven innings, the game went into extra innings.

The Lady Panthers finally got on the board in their half of the eighth. Allen brought in the first two runs of the game on her two-run RBI double. Haley Nations followed with a single past short. With no outs and runners on second and third, Lynsey Nations brought in a run on an RBI single. The Panthers would score the game’s final run on a wild pitch.

“I’m real proud of the girls for keeping us in the game and for having the zeros up there for seven innings against Brookhaven,” Lady Bears coach Andrew Redd said. “They just outlasted us and got the key hits there at the end of the game. I’m real proud of our girls for playing tough and giving me everything they could.”

Haley Nations picked up the win for the Lady Panthers, going all seven innings, while giving up two hits and no runs while picking up a season high 16 strikeouts.

Junior Adi Paden started on the mound for the Lady Bears going seven innings, while giving up six hits and no runs while picking up five strikeouts. Averi Paden, pitching in relief, took the loss going one inning while giving up three hits and three runs while striking out one batter.

Goodson had a single for the Lady Bears. Averi Paden also notched a single.

Allen led the Lady Panthers with a double, single and two RBIs. Lynsey Nations notched two singles and an RBI. Miller had two singles. Haley Nations hit two singles. Willis finished the hitting for the Lady Panthers with a single.

The Brookhaven Lady Panthers, 19-4 overall, will start their play offs run on Tuesday against the winner out of Stone and Wayne County.

The West Lincoln Lady Bears finished the season with a 7-10 overall record.

Story by Dave Linton