The Panther Press

Pantherettes are Austin Bound

SoftballGreg Higgins
(Photo by Amber Clark) North Lamar celebrating after the final out in game 3 against Pleasant Grove. 

(Photo by Amber Clark) North Lamar celebrating after the final out in game 3 against Pleasant Grove. 

Head coach Jimmy Fendley has mentioned the "No Quit" attitude of his team after every playoff series they have been involved in. Once again, this was on display over the weekend as North Lamar knocked off Pleasant Grove in three games to advance to Austin and the State Tournament.

North Lamar had several opportunities to pack up and quit. They gave up seven home runs in games two and three on Friday night. They lost the lead in game one on Thursday night.

After losing game two by a 16-6 score, they could have easily thrown in the towel and said this isn't our night. Not this team, though. Not this year. This team rallied behind each other and played North Lamar softball in game three.

(Photo by Amber Clark) Bailee Nickerson getting around the catcher to score for North Lamar. 

(Photo by Amber Clark) Bailee Nickerson getting around the catcher to score for North Lamar. 

Game 1: North Lamar 4 Pleasant Grove 2 (8 innings)

It wouldn't be a playoff series this year if North Lamar didn't go to extra innings. Reagan Richardson dominated the Pleasant Grove hitters all night long. She gave up two runs on seven hits and struck out 12 in the win.

North Lamar got the scoring started with solo home runs in the third inning by Richardson and Bailee Nickerson. That would be all the scoring until the sixth inning when Pleasant Gove would get on the board.

The Pleasant Gove leadoff hitter, Kimmie Attienza, would walk and steal second. Kristin Key would single to drive her in. That's the only run the Lady Hawks managed in the inning but they weren't done.

With two outs in the seventh and nobody on base, Pleasant Grove was able to manufacture another run against North Lamar. The Lady Hawks got back-to-back singles and took advantage of an error on the left fielder Summer Andrews to tie the game.

That would set up the heroics in the eighth inning for North Lamar. Reagan singled to lead off the inning and was advanced to second by Madison Morrison. Bailee would then reach on an error by the Pleasant Grove first baseman, which allowed Reagan to score and Bailee to take second. A single by Summer would score Bailee for the final run of the inning.

After a leadoff walk in the eighth, Reagan got three straight outs for North Lamar to give them the game one victory.

(Photo by Amber Clark) Summer Andrews being congratulated by her team after hitting a solo Home Run against Pleasant Grove. 

(Photo by Amber Clark) Summer Andrews being congratulated by her team after hitting a solo Home Run against Pleasant Grove. 

Game 2: Pleasant Grove 16 North Lamar 6

Game two started out disastrously for North Lamar. Kimmie Atienza took a 3-2 pitch and planted it over the left field fence to start the game for Pleasant Grove. Back-to-back doubles later in the inning would score another run and just like that the Lady Hawks were up 2-0.

Pleasant Grove would hit five home runs off North Lamar pitching en route to the blowout win. They were aided by three errors from North Lamar's defense in the process.

Reagan Richardson didn't have a great start for North Lamar. She only lasted two and a third innings and gave up seven runs. All of them were earned. She struck out three and walked three. Brooke Collard came in and gave up nine runs, five of which were earned by the Lady Hawks.

Trailing 7-0, North Lamar briefly made the game close in the third inning with four runs. However, Pleasant Grove added five in the fourth inning to put the game out of reach for the Pantherettes.

(Photo by Amber Clark) Erin Scholl with a throw to first for the final out of the series. 

(Photo by Amber Clark) Erin Scholl with a throw to first for the final out of the series. 

Game 3: North Lamar 5 Pleasant Grove 2

With this game being played approximately 30 minutes after the completion of game two, there was one question hanging out there. It was simply this: "Could the Pantherettes shake off what happened in game two?"

For the second straight game, their leadoff hitter took Reagan Richardson deep. Pleasant Grove would get another solo home run in the third inning to extend their lead to 2-0.

The score would remain that way until the fifth inning. Reagan would get a two-out single to center field. Madison Morrison would then triple her home to put North Lamar on the board.

In the top of the sixth inning North Lamar would tie the game. This time it was off the bat of Summer Andrews who hit a solo home run for North Lamar.

With one out in the seventh inning, Reagan worked a walk. Madison would then single her over to second base. Bailee Nickerson would follow that up with a single of her own, which scored Reagan.

Madison would score on a sacrifice fly by Erin Scholl. A single by Andrews would score Bailee to finish out the scoring for North Lamar. In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Pantherettes would get three straight outs to win the game and the series.

As the team rushed the field and embraced, the North Lamar crowd cheered as the reality set in that this team was headed back to Austin. North Lamar, who hasn't been back since their championship in 2010 will play Thursday in the State Semi-Final game. The opponent and the time have yet to be determined.

(Photo by Amber Clark) Coach Jimmy Fendley leading the charge on to the field for North Lamar after the series win against Pleasant Grove. 

(Photo by Amber Clark) Coach Jimmy Fendley leading the charge on to the field for North Lamar after the series win against Pleasant Grove.