Lady Panthers run-rule Sanger in key district match-up
VAN ALSTYNE — After the Lady Panthers had knocked around a pair of pitchers in their first meeting, it wasn’t much of a surprise that the Lady Indians would turn to a third option which could provide a different look and hopefully keep Van Alstyne off-balance.
The strategy only slightly worked as the fourth-place Lady Panthers defeated Sanger, 12-0, in five innings in District 9-4A action.
Morgan Burnside slowed Van Alstyne as compared to the 19-8 victory a couple of weeks ago but the Lady Indians weren’t close in being up to the task this time against Kelsie Adams.
Adams threw a one-hitter with five strikeouts and a walk, Paige Scarbro was 3-for-3 with a double, four RBI and scored twice, Kylie Allen was 3-for-3 with a triple, drove in a run and scored twice, Jenna Pharr was 3-for-4 with two RBI and scored and Sydney Sullivan was 2-for-3 with two RBI and scored twice for Van Alstyne (11-4, 5-3), which can clinch a playoff spot next week. The Lady Panthers have the district bye on Friday before playing at second-place Aubrey on Tuesday night.
VA has lost to the three teams ahead of it in the standings — Melissa, Aubrey and Celina — by just a combined six runs. It’s been a good showing after moving up to Class 4A.
“We’re right there with them. All four teams are really compatible. We’re a really good team. I figured we be in the mix for top three,” Van Alstyne head coach Jason Brogdon said. “This is the year we set the bar for what we do at this level going forward. Are we going to compete or will we have our tails between our legs?”
MaKynna Meeks singled and Mercedes Ibarra walked for fifth-place Sanger (5-13, 2-5), which committed nine errors and is a loss and a win by the Lady Panthers from being eliminated.
Adams nearly came away with a perfect game. She retired the first 12 Lady Indians before Ibarra walked on a full count to begin in the fifth inning. Catcher Tinsley Love promptly picked her off first but then Meeks followed with a single just beyond Kylie Allen’s reach at shortstop.
Adams got a lineout to right and a strikeout to finish off the victory.
Van Alstyne enacted the run-rule when it almost batted around for the second straight inning against reliever Sydne Faulkner, started the previous match-up.
Allen kicked things off in the fourth with a triple to center and Adams brought her in with a sacrifice fly to left-center.
Love singled, Madi Thomas reached on an error and Scarbro doubled down the left-field line for the 11-0 lead. Pharr closed out the scoring with a two-out RBI single.
All that came after the first five Lady Panthers reached to open the third inning. Sullivan and Pharr had back-to-back hits with an error on the latter putting both in scoring position.
Taylor Roberts bunted and Burnside overthrew first base, allowing the first two runs of what turned out to be an eight-run inning.
Allen followed with an RBI single to left and a dropped fly in center allowed Adams to reach. After a flyout and sacrifice bunt, Van Alstyne kept the stanza going with four straight hits.
“They’ve done it a couple times this year getting rolling with two down and keep an inning alive,” Brogdon said. “The bottom of the lineup has come through for us several times.”
Scarbro dunked a two-run single into left-center to make it 5-0 and after Kaitlyn Hildago’s hit, Sullivan went the other way with a two-run single right.
Following Sanger’s fourth error of the inning, Pharr had an RBI single and the Lady Panthers held an 8-0 advantage.
Van Alstyne left a runner in scoring position in each of the first two innings. Allen singled and ended up at second due to an error on the play with two outs in the first and Scarbro was at second after a two-out single and miscue on that hit in the second.
“They had to get their timing down,” Brogdon said. “I’m glad it only took two innings.”
Van Alstyne 12