After three straight losses at the Battle of the ’Boro Tournament on Saturday, the Liberty County High School softball team bounced back Monday with an 8-0 win over Long County in five innings at the Lady Panthers’ field.
The win came at a good time, as the Lady Panthers needed a pick-me-up after losing in the Statesboro tourney to Heritage, 9-8, and Treutlen, 4-1, and forfeiting to Ware County, 7-0. Against Ware, injuries kept the team from having the required number of girls ready to field a whole roster.
Early on against Long County, the Lady Panthers converted a double play when Kathryn Carter caught a line drive by Harley Dawson, then threw out the runner out at first. Liberty starting pitcher Kaleigh Fisher then struck out the next batter to end the inning.
A pop-up by Liberty’s Rachel Smith was dropped by the Lady Tide infield and Kaleigh Fisher was walked. With the bases loaded, Cassidy Collum singled in two RBIs.
In the second inning, Fisher smacked a bases-loaded double that plated three runs, giving Liberty a five-run lead.
Later in the game, Kathryn Carter hit one down the third-base line and reached second on a fielding error. Taylor Rine singled in a run and took second on another throwing error. Another infield error brought in Rine and made the score 7-0.
In the bottom of the third inning, Carter smacked a solo home run, her third this season.
In the top of the fifth, the Lady Tide had runners on first and second, but Telfair and Tia Anderson made good defensive plays in the outfield to keep the Lady Tide from crossing home plate.
Emily Hester, Caitlyn Wingate and Harley Dawson pitched for Long County.
Lady Panther coach Jerome Standard said he still has varsity starters out with injuries. Against Long County, starters Riley Davis, Diamond Richardson and Serena Davenport sat out. But he said he is impressed with the junior-varsity girls who have stepped up to the challenge.
“We have two girls that have really come a long way defensively,” he said. “Navia (Telfair) and Tia Anderson came out here and made some big catches and that is a big difference in a ball game like this. Chelsea Beverly is swinging the bat well, and she is getting a lot of good quality hacks at the ball.
Lady Tide coach Brian Thomas thinks his players were not focused on the game.
“I think we they were thinking ahead a little bit, thinking more about our region game in Vidalia,” he said, referring to their first Region 2-AA game scheduled for Tuesday.
Thomas said he would make sure the Lady Tide had the right mindset against the Indians
Going into Tuesday’s action, the Lady Panthers were 7-7 overall. Meanwhile, the Lady Tide are 6-4 overall and 2-1 in the region tied with Vidalia. Thomas added that Liberty played well.
“You have to give it to Liberty County … this is probably the best Liberty team I’ve seen so I give them a lot of credit,” he said. “Good teams put you in tough situations, and that is what happened to day.”
Standard said that having much more depth than he initially anticipated makes it a bit easier as the team gets ready for its first Region 3-AAAA game Thursday by hosting Burke County in a doubleheader.
“The kids were playing well together,” he said. “They were supporting each other. We made the plays that we needed to and the pitching and catching was fantastic.”
The first pitch of Thursday’s doubleheader is at