The Lady Panther softball team played outstanding defense, winning four games and securing first place in the 7th Annual Blanco Panther Softball Tournament.
The Panther’s faced the Llano Yellow Jackets first, who jumped out in the lead, 2-0, scoring one run in the first inning and another to keep the lead in the fourth inning. Blanco loaded the bases, but was unable to cross the plate. The tide turned in the sixth inning when Leslie McClinton slammed a double, followed by a sacrifice hit by Hayley Fishbeck, which allowed McClinton to come home.
Hillary Calzoncit hit a shot in the gap between third and short stop, bringing home Callie Culton, who had gotten on base with a single. Tied 2-2, the Panthers sent the Jackets back to the dug out with 3-up, 3-down in the seventh inning.
With two outs, the girls rallied with Culton, hitting a single and bringing Alex Gustafson in for the winning run. McClinton batted 2 of 4 with two doubles; Culton went 3 of 4 with three singles and an RBI. Culton pitched seven innings allowing three hits, four strike outs, one walk and four stranded. The Panthers won, 3-2.
The East Central Junior Varsity was the next victim for the Lady Panthers. Gustafson led off with a walk, followed by McClinton who hit a screamer to the left field for a triple to bring Gustafson in for the score. Megan Brown hammered a hard shot, allowing the score for Fishbeck.
Angel Williams grounded out to short, bringing in Calzoncit. Lacee Hunter added a base hit. Chandler Ashley pitched half the game, with Culton pitching the second half. Blanco took the win 5-3.
Blanco faced San Saba in their third game. San Saba scored two early runs, but that was not enough. The San Saba pitcher struggled throughout the game as the Blanco batters hit, walked, and stole for runs. Gustafson batted 3 of 3 singles with 2 RBIs. McClinton hit a single with an RBI. Kelsey Schwind knocked a triple and an RBI and Mishelle Calzoncit slammed a single for 2 RBIs. Ashley pitched the game for the Panthers. The final score was Blanco 12, San Saba 2.
The championship game between the Johnson City Lady Eagles and the Blanco team was an exciting defensive battle that ended with another Blanco victory, 4-0.
Ashley pitched all seven innings, giving up only three hits and one walk with two strike-outs and four runners left stranded. Blanco began the game with Gustafson taking a walk and McClinton smashing a single that turned into a home run on errors.
McClinton scored on a head-first dive at home plate; Blanco took the lead 2-0. Kelsey started the second inning with a base hit. Gustafson hit a single to bring Schwind in for a run. In the fifth inning, McClinton hit a fly ball to right field for a triple. Culton took a walk and ran through first to steal second, tempting the catcher to throw the ball to second. This diversion allowed McClinton to steal home for the final score, 4-0.
McClinton had a home run, a triple on errors and scored twice; Schwind went two of three and scored once and Williams added a single.
All-Tournament medals were awarded to Chandler Ashley, Hillary Calzoncit and Callie Culton. McClinton earned the MVP medal honor.