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Lady Panthers down Tigers at Bradwell
Lady Panther Kathryn Carter (15) is surrounded by her teammates and coaches after hitting a home run in Thursday's 19-2 win at Bradwell Institute.

Liberty County High School downed Bradwell Institute, 19-2, in four innings in girls’ softball action Thursday afternoon at BI.

While the game was Bradwell’s season opener, Liberty moved its record to 2-0.

The Lady Panthers smacked 14 hits and received solid performances on the mound from Kathryn Carter and Kaleigh Fisher.At the plate for Liberty, Carter was 3 for 4 with one HR and four RBIs, Rachel Smith was 2 for 3 with a double and one RBI, Taylor Rine was 2 for 2 with a double, Diamond Richardson was 2 for 4, Cassidy Collum was 2 for 3 with a double, and Fisher was 1 for 2 with three RBIs.

“Hitting throughout the lineup is the key and that is what we are doing,” Lady Panther coach Jerome Standard said. “We are scoring runs from one through nine, and that is going to be big for us as we are playing good teams. As long as you can count on the kids on the bottom scoring, you are going to win games.”

It was Carter’s second home run in two games. On Monday, she hit a solo home run against Long County on the first pitch of her first at-bat.

“We’ve been fighting a little bit of a nagging injury with Kaleigh, but we are starting to get past it and, of course, Kathryn is still recovering … but it hasn’t hurt her at the plate … she is just as good as she’s ever been at the plate,” Standard said.

Carter pitched two innings, notching four strikeouts while allowing one hit and no walks. Fisher had three strikeouts, no hits and one walk in two innings of work.

Standard thinks he has about six girls this season who could knock the ball out of the park at any time. He said he was proud of Tia Anderson, who had a solid game off the bench.

“I think the kids are enjoying it so much that I think this is something they can carry on,” Standard said about how well they are playing early in the season. “They are coming together as a team, and everybody is supporting everybody and that is a big deal. To get that cohesiveness makes for an amazing season.”

Meanwhile, the Lady Tigers seemed a bit nervous Thursday, committing 11 errors, and recording only one hit.

“This was our first game, and it gave us a good glimpse of where we need to be,” Lady Tiger head coach Sharyl Eastlake said. “There were of course some first game jitters … and when we play Liberty, there is always that block in their mind. They want to beat Liberty, but they don’t relax and just play the game. We had some errors that should not have happened.”

Eastlake was impressed by newcomer Miracle Fata’s defensive effort.

“She is wonderful and emotional,” Eastlake said. “She took the errors that the team made to heart. Sometimes, that can be a good or bad thing … we got to get her to loosen up a little bit but her offensive and defensive skills are awesome, she is a team leader … I’m really proud of her.”

Lady Tigers Shania Eldridge and Briana Tootle each had one RBI. Mackenzie Stewart hit 1 for 2.

Stewart pitched three innings, allowing 13 hits and 17 runs, including eight earned. She gave up one home run, walked six and struck out two. Kayleen Pixley pitched one inning and allowed two runs.

 “We knew that the pitching was going to be tough from Liberty,” Eastlake added. “They have a great team this year … the best team they’ve had in many years.”

Eastlake said she knows her players are going to think about the mistakes they made and improve.

“Our first day of defensive practice gave me the chills, and it’s not many years that you see the team on the first day of practice do so well to get the chills,” she said. “So I know we have the talent.”

Bradwell and Liberty are scheduled to play in the Tattnall County Warriors Blast Tournament this weekend in Glennville. Liberty is set to play Treutlen and Vidalia today (Friday). The Lady Panthers then had Tattnall County, a rematch against Bradwell and a game against Southeast Bulloch on Saturday. The Lady Tigers had Toombs and Tattnall County scheduled for today and Emanuel County Institute, Liberty and Southeast Bulloch on Saturday.

Results from the tournament will be and posted online as soon as possible and be printed in Wednesday’s Coastal Courier.

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