Pendleton gets Panthers off on right foot in blowout win

Published 9:29 pm Tuesday, March 28, 2023

BROOKHAVEN — The Lady Panthers offense exploded at the plate knocking in 29 runs in three innings to beat Natchez 29-3. Jayonna Pendleton led Ole Brook off in the first inning with a double and sparked a 13 run inning to respond to Natchez scoring a run to start the game. 

Natchez scored two more runs in the second inning but Brookhaven added 16 more runs in the bottom half to take a commanding 26 run lead. Starting pitcher Maggie Reynaud slammed the door on the opposition in the third inning to end the game. She finished with six strikeouts in three innings of work to earn the win. 

Reynaud finished the night with two hits and an RBI, Pendleton had two hits and an RBI, Kennedi Dickey had five RBIs and Gabbie Cameron had three RBIs. 

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“I felt good at the plate. I saw the ball well and got my timing down,” Pendleton said. 

Her head coach Mandy Vinson said “She has worked hard on her timing and has more confidence at the plate.” 

Brookhaven was a confident team at the plate and knocked the ball well around the park. While they finished the night with seven hits, Natchez made 12 errors with a majority of those being fielding errors on hard hit balls. 

Natchez struggled to find the strike zone issuing 13 walks and throwing 80 balls in the contest. Brookhaven made three errors on the night. 

It looked like Ole Brook might have handed Natchez a life line when they gave up two runs in the second inning allowing the Bulldogs to cut their lead to 10. Natchez Head Coach Bonita Hamilton spoke to her team about the importance of not giving up after the game. 

“We won’t give up. Just keep fighting. We can’t never give up. Don’t get down on yourself,” Hamilton said. 

Both squads are similar in nature. Natchez has two seventh graders playing up on the team and is a young inexperienced squad. Errors and walks proved costly in the loss for the Bulldogs, a tune familiar to Brookhaven. 

Tuesday night, Ole Brook was on the winning side of a beatdown. Pendleton said it gives the team confidence as they move forward in the season. 

“Once you are winning you can keep up your focus,” Pendleton said. “I think we can keep up this momentum and I hope so. Because we won, I’m going to keep wearing my necklace.” 

The necklace does not have a special story behind it, she said. 

Pendleton started her softball career in 2019 when she started playing summer slow pitch. Someone came to her and asked if she wanted to try out for Brookhaven. She has liked the game ever since she started in 2019. 

“It is my sport and I like it. I’m trying out for volleyball but I’m sticking to softball as my main sport,” Pendleton said. 

She has stepped up into a new position this season. A freshman, she is tasked with being a catcher and has welcomed the challenge. She said her knees hurt at first from the constant crouching a catcher does but the team needed a catcher. 

“She stepped up tremendously for us. She has had a lot of growth,” Vinson said. “I think she can be hard on herself. She is getting better every game.”