Aggressive base running has long been characteristic of Maxwell softball and the strategy paid off again last Wednesday against Pierce, as the Panthers’ were able to push across the winning run in the bottom of the seventh to edge their county rival 6-5, in the last game of the season for both teams.
Although, at the outset, it looked as though Maxwell would run away with the game – as they put two runs on the board in the second inning with some alert base running, then got an RBI single off the bat of Perla Herrera to jump out to a 3-0 lead – that would not be the case.
After the Panthers tacked on an unearned run in the third, and seemingly had the game under control, the Bears came to life in the top of the fourth, taking advantage of two walks followed by back-to-back run-scoring singles from Hailey Regnani and Ashlyn Wooldridge to tie the game at four apiece.
It was short lived, however, as Maxwell’s Morgan Dennis singled to plate Emma Hendrix in the home half of the frame, making the score 5-4.
Once again, Pierce fought back, this time to tie the game at 5 in the top of the sixth, after Gicelle Condrey scored on an error. But the Bears could get no more, leaving the bases loaded, and also came up empty in the seventh, which in turn set the stage for Maxwell to claim victory.
Dennis, in her last game for the Panthers, led off the inning with a single, then determinedly made her way to third base, which allowed her to be in position to steal home and account for the winning run.
For the Panthers, fellow senior Laynee Haywood, went 3 for 3 with a double, while Hendrix was 2 for 3, and Madi Pearson chipped in with a double.
The game was a fitting end for the Panthers, whose entire season was characteristic of the way they played against the Bears, as co-coach Marc Haywood explained saying, “Our motto was ‘One chance, one dream, one team,’”and we stuck with that. We had our ups and downs, but in the end, in a crazy year, our team had fun and stayed true to our ‘family.’”
It was a hard luck loss for the shorthanded Bears, who were missing several key players due to a conflict with their last basketball game, an issue they had faced all season long.
With volleyball, basketball, and track occurring simultaneously at times, Pierce athletes were stretched thin, thus making it difficult to prepare properly for softball, and altering the team’s goal, something Coach Holly Schaad touched upon when discussing the narrow loss to the Panthers.
“It was a hard fought game on both sides,” Schaad said. “A few mistakes can cost you in a close game like that and this time Maxwell got the upper hand. Still, I’m proud of my team. They have faced a lot over the last year and a half. This season was just about being on the field and getting to play.”
Sierra Murphy turned in a solid effort in the circle, recording 10 strikeouts in her final appearance for Pierce. §