Bradwell couldn’t overcome a big inning, as Liberty took the rivalry softball game, 10-1, Saturday morning at Liberty County High School.
The game opened with both teams playing solid defense. Lady Panther senior shortstop Victoria Anthony scored on a one-out sacrifice fly from Cassidy Collum for a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second.
Liberty lit it up in the bottom of the third inning, scoring seven runs off hits, walks and Bradwell fielding errors.
“You cannot win ball games when you make seven errors in a game like we did today,” Bradwell Institute Lady Tigers head coach Sharyl Eastlake said.
She added that not only did the errors hurt her team, but the Lady Tigers also have four injured players, including pitcher MacKenzie Stewart. The sophomore had to toss the ball while wearing a tightened bandage on a leg contusion.
“As a team, when batters are slamming the ball to the outfield, we have to be able to make the correct steps and get to the ball. Pop flies should be definite outs for us,” Eastlake said.
Liberty’s Kathryn Carter struck out seven in the win against Bradwell. Anthony finished with two hits and a RBI for the Lady Panthers. Collum had a hit and two RBIs.
“Carter had a good outing today — not her best but it was strong,” Lady Panther coach Jerome Standard said. “She is a strong pitcher, and she changes speeds and hits spots, but she also got behind a little in the count and walked a couple of batters. But she also battled back and we played good defense behind her.”
Standard said the Lady Panthers are starting to develop confidence and the power of belief, which is going to be one of the keys to a tough week coming for Liberty. “We are really starting to understand the mental side of this game, which is making us a better team,” Standard said. “We have a tough week this week, but it’s also a week that could see us play some of our best softball. We go to South Effingham, who lost to Savannah Christian, and we beat them, so we have to play but we have a chance. We have a very talented Wayne team at home Thursday, and then we are at Bradwell Saturday.”
Eastlake said that Bradwell senior shortstop Kasey Smith remained solid at the plate and in the field, and Shania Eldridge still is consistently getting bunts down, which is essential for getting runners on base.
The Lady Panthers’ win was a bonus after they shut down Statesboro, 11-0, Thursday.
The Lady Tigers did manage another successful campaign Monday at Statesboro, taking the Blue Devils down, 21-6. Last week, the Lady Tigers beat Statesboro in four innings, 17-4.
Liberty is 5-5 overall and 1-0 in Region 3A-AAAA, while Bradwell is 3-12 and 2-6 in Region 3B-AAAAA.
The Lady Tigers are at Windsor Forest for a region game at 4:30 p.m. today.
The crosstown rivals will play again Saturday, this time at Bradwell for the Lady Tigers’ senior-day game. The contest starts at 10 a.m.