Dusting off the dirt and getting by a rough first inning is exactly what the Liberty County High School Lady Panthers needed to get their first win of the softball season. On Tuesday afternoon visiting Statesboro High opened their season with a loss when the home team swept ahead to win 8-3.
The Lady Devils scored all of their runs in the first inning on Lady Panther errors. But despite the 3-0 deficit, LCHS got their game rolling in the bottom of the first. It started with two Lady Panther siblings.
Junior Gabriella Anthony singled and later advanced to second. Her sister, sophomore Victoria Anthony, nailed a shot down the third base line. The Blue Devils third baseman grabbed it off a hop but over threw first. Gabriella Anthony scored and her younger sister made it to third.
Senior Brittany Desbiens then singled over the short stop to score Anthony and the home team trailed by one.
The local girls trailed until the bottom of the third, when the younger Anthony once again nailed a shot deep to left field for a double. Morgan Crowley and Lori Harden were able to load the bases. Taylor Anderson hit a high ball for a sacrifice fly, scoring Anthony and tying the game.
The Panthers reloaded the bases on another walk and then Ashley Desbiens walked, giving the Lady Panthers a one run lead.
Feeding off the offense, the defense stepped up to keep the Blue Devils from scoring. Outfielder Diamone Johnson made a back handed catch on a deep ball that would have scored a run. With two outs and runners on base, Anderson ran for a foul ball and snagged it in the air to close an inning.
“Overall the girls played hard the entire game,” Lady Panther coach Jerome Standard said. “We had a tough first inning but we battled right back and played well.”
The Lady Panthers tallied four more runs.
On the mound, junior Lady Panther Lori Harden tossed 86 pitches with 54 strikes. She struck out three batters and gave up two walks.
“Pitching was much better,” Standard said.
Liberty County heads to Reidsville today to play in the Tattnall County Warriors Battle Tournament. See game day for the complete schedule.
Lady Panthers 8, Lady Blue Devils 3
Lead hitters Lady Panthers:
G. Anthony — single, V. Anthony — single, dbl, 3RBIs, Brittany Desbiens — 2 singles, 1 RBI, Morgan Crowley — single, Taylor Anderson — triple, 1 RBI, Ashley Desbiens — 2 RBIs, Kailey Holliday — 1 RBI
Winning pitcher — Lori Harden: 3 Ks. 2 walks. 2 hit by pitch. 86 pitches. 54 strikes. 32 balls.
Statesboro Blue Devils
Lead hitters: S Brown — 1 single, K Whitaker— 3 singles
Losing pitchers: L Hadden 2 Ks. 6 walks. 7 hits. K Kingray 2 walks. 1 hit.