The Lady Tide held the lead for most of their recent game against Liberty County High School, but with three runs scored in the seventh inning, the Panthers pulled out a 4-2 win.The game was scoreless through two innings, but in the third, Tide seniors Kelby Manning and Kimber Sapp got base hits to put runners at first and second. The third batter, Audrey Hulvey, slammed a double to send in the two runs, giving Long County a 2-0 lead, which is where it stayed through four innings.
In the top of the fifth, the Liberty County team managed two hits and scored a run, narrowing the game to 2-1. In the sixth inning, neither team did anything. In the next inning, however, the Lady Panthers found their bats.
In the seventh, Brittany Desbiens and Brianna Payton both got sings, putting the winning runs on the bags with no outs. The third batter, Taylor Anderson, nailed a fly that looked like it would drop in the hole, but Taylor Harrison made a great, leaping catch to keep the runners on the bags.
Liberty’s Jordan Struble came to bat and after a wild pitch by Kayla Mills, Desbiens and Payton advanced to second and third. Struble cracked a double, sending both runners in for the score and giving the visitors a 3-1 lead over the Lady Tide.
After that, Lori Harden scored off of a triple by Victoria Anthony, making the score 4-2 in the Panthers’ favor.
The home team had one more shot in the bottom of the seventh, but since they were deep in their batting order, the Ludowici ladies went three and out.
With the win, the Lady Panthers finished their season at 6-12 overall and had a Region 2A-AAAA mark of 3-7.
"I would like to commend Kayla Mills for an outstanding four years at Long County High School," Lady Panther coach Jerome Standard said. "She has done a lot of great pitching over the years and she was definitely one of the toughest to face."
The coach said he is proud his team never backed down and fought to the bitter end.
"We didn’t give up. We played to win and they managed to pull through and get the victory," he said. "We showed a little poise and determination to get the job done and that goes a long way in the world of sports."
The Lady Tide finished their regular season with a 7-10 record and a Region 2-AA record of 4-6. Now the ladies move onto the playoffs.
The Lady Tide finished in the fourth spot in the Sub-Region B standings, so they will face the No. 1 seed in the Sub-Region A block, Jeff Davis High School.
The Lady Tide will go into the game as the underdog. The Yellow Jackets have a 19-6 record and are undefeated in Region 2-AA. Jeff Davis is also ranked No. 8 in the state, according to the PrepCounty.com/GACA Coaches Poll rankings.
The Ludowici ladies will take on the Yellow Jackets on Monday in Hazlehurst. The two teams will play a best of three series, with the winner advancing to the next round.
The first game tomorrow is at 4 p.m. and the second game is at 6 p.m. If a third game is necessary, it will be in Hazlehurst at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
As for the Lady Panthers, the win over Long County was the final game of the season. Standard said his outgoing seniors will be missed and hard to replace.
"I know I’m going to have a tough time replacing Charlee (Coursey) behind the plate, and Jordan Struble has pitched well for us all season," he said. "Kanae Gordon turned out to be a super second baseman and she played well all year. Precious Williams turned out to be a good outfielder and I’m going to miss her speed out there. And we will definitely miss Crystal Brooks and Bailey Carmichael."