The motto that the North Lamar Pantherettes have adopted this year is "No Quit." Why wouldn't they adopt that motto, though? Coming into their semifinal matchup with Needville, North Lamar had won five playoff games in which they trailed in the sixth or seventh innings. This team not only uses "No Quit" as their motto, but they've embraced the attitude during the games as well.
This couldn't have been more prevalent then when they played Needville Thursday afternoon in Austin. The game, which was supposed to be played at noon, was pushed back because of the weather. After warming up, the Pantherettes were ready to take the field.
North Lamar fell victim to early jitters and quickly found themselves down 2-0 in the second inning. Not letting this get them down, the Pantherettes immediately fought back and took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the inning.
Erin Scholl led off the inning for North Lamar with a base hit. Bill Jones would walk. Jacyie McEwin would drive in the first North Lamar run with a single that scored Scholl. Jones would score later in the inning on a single by Brooke Collard. An error on the left fielder of Needville would then score McEwin for the North Lamar lead.
Needville would take a 4-3 lead when they scored two more runs in the top of the third inning. The score would remain that way until the fourth when Collard singled. Reagan Richardson would smash a triple to the outfield gap, scoring Brooke on the play and tying the game.
The score would remain tied at four until the seventh inning. Needville would take a two run lead on an RBI double and a bases loaded walk.
Down to their final three outs of the season, North Lamar received final instructions from head coach Jimmy Fendley. As the Needville fans were cheering their team on, the Pantherette faithful watched in anticipation. Every one of them had seen this story before and they knew the outcome before Reagan stepped into the batters box.
The first pitch of the inning hit Reagan on her right leg. Madison Morrison hit a hard grounder to the third baseman. She threw to second but Richardson slid in ahead of the throw. Runners on first and second and Bailee Nickerson stepped up. Bailee took the second pitch she saw and drove it hard to centerfield. Reagan easily scored and Madison made it to third. After Scholl struck out, Summer Andrews hit a sacrifice fly that scored Madison to tie the game.
For the fourth straight week, North Lamar went to extra innings. After a perfect eighth inning defensively it was time to go to work offensively. McKayla Figueroa smashed a ball to the gap in left center. As the center fielder mishandled the ball, McKayla found herself standing on third base with only one out. Collard and Richardson would draw back-to-back walks.
"I had struck out and sac bunted so I knew I had to get this hit and get on base. The top of the line up is really good about getting us in when you get base runners." - McKayla Figueroa
With one out, Madison stepped up to the plate. Morrison took a 1-1 pitch and drive into left field for a single. Figueroa easily walked across home plate for the game winning run. North Lamar, the comeback kids, have earned a chance to play for another State Championship.