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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

South Garners 2 wins in Last Week of Season

South had another week where they started off slow, but finished strong.  They lost their first two games against Bradford and North, but finished the regular season with wins against league foe Miami East and the SWBL’s Eaton Eagles.  So the team achieved some measure of momentum going into their last 2 games of the season  - a double header against Dixie.

First game for the Panthers was against Bradford.  South struggled against Bradfords pitching.  Although they did get 4 runs on the night, they allowed 10 in the loss.  Next up for South was their rivals down 503 – North.   The teams were closely matched, but South did not help their cause with mistakes on the base paths on offense and fielding errors on defense.  Coach Robinson would later state that this was one game that got away from them.

South got a decent lead early, but seemed to relax and that let North back in the game.  North kept chipping away at South’s lead and on defense, they shut out South the last 5 innings of the game. North scored the tying and winning runs in their bottom half of the last inning – so it was a dramatic come from behind win.   Kelsie Shafer and Lacey Emerick both had 2 hits and 2 RBI’s for South.

I was highly disappointed that we couldn't close this game out.” Remarked coach Robinson after the game. “We came out strong in the first two innings, scoring 3 runs in each inning, then our base running errors and mental mistakes seemed to take over, and we never scored again the rest of the way.  I have to say, our mistakes on the base paths were the worst I've seen in a while, and they basically cost us at least 3-4 runs.  Add in our four defensive errors, which caused us to give up 5 runs, and we could have come away with a big win over our rivals. I do give TCN some credit; they hung tough and never gave up hope. “

But South made up for the loss with a win over Miami East. And the team put together a better performance – only one error on defense and their offense exploded for 14 runs.  Pitcher Ali Robertson got the win and Hailee Bright earned a save.  Robertson aided her cause with 3 hits at the plate.  The team got the lead early and did not look back as they scored 7 runs in the first 3 innings and then solidified the lead with 6 runs in the 4th.  The team only allowed 2 runs in the 14-2 rout.

An elated coach Robinson was asked about this game, “I thought we were much smarter at the plate, as well as on the bases.  Several players hit the ball well.  Ali Robertson pitched her third game in 3 days; she has definitely done her job on the mound all week.  I did decide to bring Hailee Bright in to get the final 5 outs of the game.  She got the first 4 batters out before walking one, then got the final out to pop up to the infield.  Lacey Emrick deserves credit for the work she's done this week behind the plate as well.”

South had one of those games against Eaton that gives coaches ulcers.  They were scoreless in the early going and spotted the Eagles 5 runs.  But in a reversal of their roles from the North game, South now played the comeback kids – scoring 13 runs in the last 3 innings to gain the lead and then hold off a last inning rally by Eaton for the 13-10 win. 

Coach Robinson was happy with the comeback win, “I give a lot of credit to our girls for having the determination and heart to battle through the adversity of this game.  In pretty much every other game of the season where we got down early, we never were able to make a comeback to win the ball game. I'm very grateful for today's win.  It's not very often that we can record 6 errors and still come away with a victory.  Eaton has improved tremendously in the past couple of years, so we knew we had our work cut out for us, going into the game.”

Alas, South was not able to carry forward the momentum they gained against the Eagles as they closed out the week against Dixie – one of the better teams in the area.  They would end up losing a closely contested opening game 4-1, and couldn’t seem to manage a challenge in the second game, losing 12-1.

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