This wasn’t how the season was supposed to end for the North Lamar Pantherettes. Not here. Not now. Not like this. North Lamar was supposed to keep on competing in the Class 4A softball playoffs. It wasn’t meant to be, however as North Lamar fell to Athens in two games, 4-2 and 6-4.
From the Pantherettes vantage point, it could be looked at as a series of missed opportunities and unlucky breaks. With a runner on base and trailing by one, Erin Scholl laid down a perfect bunt. The catcher picked up the ball and fired it wildly to first base. The ball rolled halfway down to the right field fence, which could have easily scored the runner. However, the umpires hands had gone up on the play indicating a foul ball. Just prior to picking it up, the ball had barely crossed the line.
Another scoring opportunity happened when Reagan Richardson belted a pitch to center field. The trajectory of the ball and force with which it was hit seemed to indicate at least a double, if not a triple for Reagan. At the last moment, though, the centerfielder reached up and akwardly snow-coned the ball for the out.
In the circle, Reagan had a hard time getting a strike from the umpires behind the plate. Not because she wasn’t throwing them, but because the umpires had a very tight strike zone against both pitchers.
North Lamar didn’t help themselves defensively, though. The Pantherettes had nine errors in the two games. Of the 10 runs scored by Atlanta, only three of them were earned runs.
Offensively, the stats were just as bad for North Lamar. In the two games, North Lamar stranded 12 runners on base. Yet they lost by two runs in each of those games. North Lamar had 14 plate appearances with runners in scoring position but only managed three hits in those appearances.
All-in-all, it was a bad series for North Lamar, but it was a tremendous season. The Pantherettes have had to battle through some adverse situations all season. Like most teams in this area the weather played a huge part in the canceling or moving a lot of games this year. Because of the weather, the girls were unable to play any pre-district games at home.
Two of the senior leaders for this team were unable to play for part of the season because of injuries. Jordan Jones, coming off her second ACL surgery in as many years was cleared to play during district and played a crucial part in the Pantherette defense at first base. Her constant cheer and joyful attitude is something everyone should strive for.
Tanna Huie hurt her shoulder in the sixth game of district play when she slid into home plate. The injury would require surgery. Although she wasn’t on the field to lead, she was a vocal leader in the dugout. During the playoffs, she would often be seen with some of the coaches trying to devise a plan of attack.
The third senior, Sarah Penrose, was called “the true definition of a team player” by coach Jimmy Fendley. Penrose did whatever was asked of her this season. At times she would pinch hit only. Other times she would pitch or play in the outfield. Her bat came alive in the second half of district play as well.
It’s hard to replace seniors as valuable as these three were to this team. However, this is a very young team and they have a bright future ahead of them. The 2015 team may have missed out on the chance to play in Austin. However, this team will be back. Congratulations to the Pantherettes on an outstanding season.