It was a somber bus ride home Wednesday from Cordele for Liberty County.
After battling their way to a spot in the state softball playoffs, the Lady Panthers lost the first two games in the best-of-three series to Crisp County.
The loss of game one was hard enough as Crisp won, 2-0. The second loss hit especially hard as Liberty lost, 13-0.
It was a tough day under difficult circumstances. Standout pitcher Kathryn Carter was kept off the mound with a hamstring injury. Lady Panther softball coach Jerome Standard said that also affected her ability to make her normal impact at the plate.
Statistics for the two losses were not available by press time, but Carter had 25 hits, eight RBIs, four doubles, three triples and held a .417 average going in to the state tournament. Carter’s earned-run average was 2.65 in 74 innings pitched and was 5-6 for the year.
Also, Lady Panther Meagan Folker played despite being under the weather.
According to Standard, freshman Kaleigh Fisher had to pitch both games and did a great job in game one, giving up only five hits.
Fisher started the tournament with a .433 batting average with 26 hits, 17 RBIs, six doubles and one triple.
As a pitcher, she was 4-6 in 53 innings with an ERA of 3.39 before the state tournament.
The Lady Panthers finished 9-15 overall for the year and 4-5 in Region 3A-AAAA.
While the loss sent Liberty home, Standard said the team has a lot to be proud about and a lot to look forward to.
The team will lose four seniors to graduation, but the core of the pitching and defense will be back next season for another run.
“And they got to see what postseason play looks like and the talent level needed to be successful,” Standard said.
End-of-season slugging averages*
Kathryn Carter .583
Kaleigh Fisher .566
Rachel Smith .390
Victoria Anthony .318
Meagan Folker .261
Haley Spencer .250
Jeresha Roberson .250
Taensa Rariden .166
Riley Davis .163
Serena Davenport .108
Cassidy Collum .089
*stats before state tournament