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Lady Panthers handle Lady Phoenix
Lady Panther Diamond Richardson cross the plate for a Liberty run in Tuesday's 11-3 win at home against New Hampstead. She was two for two with a double and a bunt for a hit, stole two bases and scored three runs. - photo by Patty Leon

Lady Panther Taylor Rine smashed a two-run, walk-off homer for the Liberty County High School softball team Tuesday at home. The girls beat New Hampstead, 11-3, in a Region 3-AAAA contest.

Neither team crossed home until the bottom of the third inning. Diamond Richardson and Rachel Smith both singled and Serena Davenport scored. Lady Panther Kathryn Carter hit a single, scoring in Smith. Carter then stepped off first and started to dart toward second. Davenport stepped off third and waited until the Lady Phoenix infielder turned to make the play at second. When she did, Davenport bolted for home giving the Lady Panthers a 3-0 lead.

And Carter was safe at second, sliding in to the chagrin of coaches and fans worried for her leg.

The Lady Phoenix didn’t waste time in returning the favor, tying the score in the top of the fourth. Lady Phoenix Alaura DeRouen reached first. Lady Phoenix Skye Shaw hit an inside-the-park home run. New Hampstead trailed 3-2 and then scored the tying run off a single by Lynnzie Crosby.

“They awakened the giant within,” Lady Panther Jerome Standard said after the game about the Lady Phoenix’s come back.

Knowing they had to pull ahead, Liberty’s bats came alive in the bottom of the inning.

Lady Panther Haley Spencer singled to first and Diamond Richardson hit a fly ball that should have been fielded. The Lady Phoenix’s error allowed Richardson to advance to second and Spencer was in scoring position. Smith then hit a 2-RBI double center field. Carter got an RBI to end the inning ahead 6-3.

In the bottom of the sixth, Liberty girls closed the game. Richardson hit to first and stole second. Smith hit her in and then stole second. And Davenport smacked the ball to the fence for a double and an RBI. Carter then hit tor score Davenport.

With a 9-3 lead, Rine finished the game with the two-run homer walk-off by the run-rule.

Standard praised Richardson.

“Diamond Richardson is well deserving of player of the game,” he posted on “She was two for two with a double and a bunt for a hit, stole two bases and scored three runs. And she played flawlessly in the field. Great job, Diamond.”

Smith finished 3-of-4 with 4 RBIs in the game. Rine was 1-of-3 with 2 RBIs, Carter was 2-of-4 with 2RBIs and Davenport was 2-of-4 with 1 RBI.

Carter pitched for the win tossing nine strikeouts.

Liberty is 15-11 overall and 5-2 in the region. The Liberty girls will play at New Hampstead Thursday at 5 p.m. The Lady Panthers will host Wayne County Tuesday and honor their two seniors just before the game.

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