Lady Panthers fall in nine innings

By GEOFFREY STOUTE

In a game in which errors by the North Vermilion Lady Patriots came back to haunt them because Berwick used those miscues to push across runs, it was North Vermilion who benefited from a Berwick error in the top of the ninth inning to defeat the Lady Panthers, 4-3, and remain atop the District 9-3A standings.

Tied at three with a runner at third base and two outs, North Vermilion’s Demi Boudreaux hit a grounder to Berwick shortstop Abigail Ohlin that looked to be the third out of the inning. However, Ohlin could not handle the grounder, allowing North Vermilion’s Kate Faulk to score.

While the Lady Panthers (12-11 overall, 5-4 in district) got out of the top half of the inning with no more damage on the scoreboard, its offense could not bring home Amber Girard, who had singled to open the home-half of the ninth inning and advanced to second base on a ball in the dirt.

Although the game will be remembered for the critical Berwick error in the top half of the inning, BHS coach Lloyd Burchfield said the real culprit for the Lady Panthers was the amount of runners they left on base, especially at third.

In all, the Lady Panthers left 10 runners in scoring position, including five at third base.

“That’s what I told the team a while ago,” Burchfield said after the game Thursday. “We just didn’t quite squeeze out that timely hit that you need to win a game like that, but it’s always a battle when we play them.”

Berwick started the scoring when they plated a run in the bottom of the third on Celeste Bowers’ single to left field, which scored Ohlin.

Ohlin had reached base on an error by the North Vermilion second baseman.

The Lady Panthers added another run in the fourth inning on an RBI single to left field by Maddie Gray, which scored Berwick's Megan Fegenbush.

The Lady Patriots (14-6, 8-0) responded in the fifth inning with three runs on a Boudreaux RBI single to right field, on a Berwick error and again on Brooke Dupuy’s two-out single to left field.

Berwick tied the game in the bottom of the inning on a Bowers’ standup double to left center field, which scored Elizabeth Hover. Hover had reached base on an error by the left fielder.

Berwick left runners on second and third in that inning when Maria Trevino struck out. The Lady Panthers again left a runner at third base in the bottom of the seventh when Trevino flied out to the third baseman and again in the bottom of the eighth when Hover grounded out to the shortstop.

In the top of the ninth, Faulk drove the first pitch she saw to left field for a single. Teammate Hannah Vidalier moved Faulk to second on a sacrifice bunt.

The next batter, Taylor Meyers, flied out to the right fielder for the second out of the inning, and Faulk tagged up to third base on the play. Boudreaux then hit a grounder to Ohlin that the usual sure-handed shortstop couldn’t handle and Faulk scored.

Fegenbush took the complete game loss for the Lady Panthers as she surrendered four runs on nine hits and struck out three.

At the plate, Girard led the Lady Panthers with a 3-for-5 performance with an RBI, while Fegenbush added a 2-for-5 performance with a run. Bowers finished 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI, and Ohlin finished 1-for-5 with a run.

Thursday’s loss was the second down-to-the-wire defeat for the Lady Panthers. On Tuesday, Patterson plated a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat the Lady Panthers.

“The main thing I wanted to see today is us recover from the performance we had the other day at Patterson," Burchfield said. "It was subpar. We got knocked down, and I wanted to see how they responded. And they played the kind of softball (on Thursday) I know they can play.”

Things don’t get easier for the Lady Panthers, though, as they will face Kaplan, which currently sits in second place in district, on the road on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

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