It was a day to honor the Liberty County Lady Panther seniors, but Saturday also was a big memory for Lady Panther freshman catcher Riley Davis.
Davis looped the ball for a big hit in the Panthers’ last at-bat to give Liberty an 8-7 victory over Bradwell Institute on the Lady Panthers’ field.
“I am so proud of how the girls played today. We just kept staying in the ballgame and never quit,” Liberty County Lady Panther head coach Jerome Standard said. “At times, both teams played great and poorly, with too many errors and walks. This was really an up-and-down game, but we stayed in it and was able to come out on top.”
Both Liberty and Bradwell were scheduled to finish the regular season early this week and will begin the region playoffs Thursday. Since both teams will finish third on their side of the region, both teams will be on the road during the first round.
“We have one game left with Wayne. The game will not move either one of us in the region standings. It looks like we will end up going to Hepzibah or Richmond Academy for the first round,” Standard said.
Bradwell on Thursday travels to Effingham for its first-round game of the Region 3-AAAAA playoffs.
Bradwell took an early lead off of a double from Kelissa Hargrove. The Lady Tigers took advantage of walks and errors to go up, 2-0. Bradwell used walks to plate another run in the third for a 3-0 lead.
“We have not been hitting the ball as well as we are capable of. This last week, though, we have started to hit the ball better. Friday night against Jenkins and today against Liberty our bats have finally started to wake up and come alive,” Bradwell Institute Lady Tigers Head Coach Sharryl Eastlake said.
Lady Panther Jakaria Fleming hit a single and scored off of a double from Gabriella Anthony, who later scored to make the score 3-2 Bradwell.
The game remained close to the end. Bradwell edged ahead, 7-6, going into the bottom of the seventh inning. Liberty’s Victoria Anthony walked, and Jeresha Robinson reached base on an error to begin the inning. Smith drove in Anthony with a hit to tie the game, 7-7, and set up Davis’ heroics.
Lady Panther senior Lori Harden went the distance on the mound, striking out four.
“I am disappointed in the loss today, but I am not disappointed in the way we played,” Eastlake said. “They played hard to the end. We are too deep in the season though to be making the simple base running and mental errors that we are making right now. We need to work on that heading into the region playoffs this week.”
Eastlake has been pleased that the Lady Tigers have three pitchers whom they can rely on.
“It is really nice to know that I can go to McKenizie Stewart, Kasey Smith and Sarah Wells to certainly give us some depth,” Eastlake said. “I also have to commend Courtney Felton and her unselfishness. We were short at catcher this year, and she hadn’t caught in years but came in and has really worked hard and developed into a solid catcher. That type of attitude and putting team first is what is going to help this team be successful.”
Liberty seniors Gabriella Anthony, Briana Payton, Lori Harden, Lamink Grant and Javoni Canty were honored after Saturday’s game.