AMORY – The Amory Lady Panthers came up with one of their biggest wins of the season, stunning previously unbeaten Hamilton with a five-run sixth inning and an 8-4 win last Tuesday night.
“This is a big win, and it’s a friendly rivalry. Coach (Bryan) Loague and I are friends, and it’s become that same way with the girls,” Amory coach Chris Pace said. “In the fifth and sixth inning, we were popping the ball, and it was fun again. Even though the ball has changed, it’s fun. I think that’s going to wake a giant over there, and hopefully if we did that, then we get another chance to play them again.”
Hamilton put up a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on RBI hits by Kaitlyn Gosa and Aniston Atkins after hits earlier in the inning by Caylin Ferraro, Faith Fontenot and Lann Hollis.
They added another run in the top of the second on a Jordan Ray RBI double.
Amory cut it to a one-run game in the bottom of the inning. Cassidy Simmons and Karsen Sanders started things off with a bang with back-to-back doubles with Sanders’ going off the center field wall and plating the first run. Madison Kirkpatrick came through with a two-out, RBI single to make it 3-2.
The Lady Panthers tied the game in the bottom of the third. Connor Stevens drew a walk leading off, and two batters later, Maggie Kate Cummings singled to left. A fielder’s choice and an error allowed Stevens to score. Simmons and Sanders had back-to-back hits again, but a grounder back to the pitcher kept the game tied.
Hamilton pushed ahead 4-3 in the top of the fifth as Ferraro doubled leading off, and Fontenot drove her in with a one-out double of her own.
Amory responded with its big inning in the bottom of the sixth, scoring all five runs with two outs. Reese Griffith singled leading off, and Sanders did the same with two outs. A fielder’s choice erased Sanders, but Laney Howell picked up a two-out RBI single to tie the game at 4-4. Kirkpatrick loaded the bases with a hit.
Emma Walker had the next big hit of the inning, doubling to left to drive in a pair of runs and break the tie at 6-4. Stevens was intentionally walked, and Bunch made them pay as she also hit a two-run double to go up 8-4.
“I’ve been riding both of them, but Emma and Addie both had big hits. They have to know that if there’s an opportunity for them not to pitch to Connor, they’re not going to, and somebody has to cover up and help her out,” Pace said. “We have a transfer from Hatley in Laney Howell who’s flying around, and Karsen and (Madison) Kirkpatrick both had some hits. Macie (Williams) is playing really good defense and had some hits. When we get her back going, we will have a good chance.”
The Lady Panthers worked around two out hits by Ferraro and Harrison in the top of the seventh to preserve the win.
Thursday: Amory 15, Ray Brooks 0; Amory 15, Ray Brooks 0
The Lady Panthers breezed through the first round of the playoffs with a pair of 15-0 wins against Ray Brooks on Thursday.
“We hit it better the second game, but our hits came off the bench. We got to seven or eight, and then the JV started hitting. I was trying to get everyone in, and we ran out of runs,” Pace said. “We wanted to see some looks and swapped a few things in the second game defensively just in case, and we let (Emma) Pinkerton pitch. She threw strikes and got hits, and Cassidy (Simmons) also hit the ball well. Connor got a home run and a single and was walked the rest of the time, and that’s what we have to prepare for.”
In Game 1, Connor Stevens smashed a two-run homer in a five-run first as Maggie Kate Cummings added an RBI double and Reese Griffith and Karsen Sanders RBI singles.
The Lady Panthers exploded for 10 runs in the second inning of Game 1. Cummings cleared the bases with a double, and Macie Williams drove in two with a single. Kirkpatrick also had a hit and moved up on an error that cleared the bases her in second at bat.
In Game 2, Amory stranded hits from Stevens and Simmons in the first inning but came through with four runs in the second. Williams drove in the first run, and Emma Walker cleared the bases with a hit and a Ray Brooks error.
Griffith picked up her second hit in the third with an RBI double, and Williams drove in two runs with a single up the middle. Kirkpatrick and Emma Pinkerton had RBI hits before Pace started to empty the bench and find production from his pinch hitters.
Riley Ray and Ali Holton both had hits off the bench, then Audrey Kate McComb, Trinity McGhee, Julianna Simmons Bess Boykin and Eva Beachum all drove in runs to end the game.
Amory advances to host Vardaman in the second round on Tuesday night.