No early season mercy for Wildcats


Katie Linkner

Junior Paige Andrews bats. Andrews hit two RBIs in the fourth inning to increase the Lady Panther lead.

Jenna Sanders, Sports Editor

In the last few seasons, the battle for the top seed in softball region 3-AAAAA has been between Whitewater and Starr’s Mill. Tuesday night’s game between the two teams, however, was no battle as the Mill dominated the Wildcats on their own turf 8-0.

Katie Linkner
Junior Kendall Robinson slides into second base as the ball is thrown her way. The Lady Panthers defeated Whitewater 8-0 in five innings. The game started off slow with neither team getting a runner on base in the first two innings. However, in the third inning, the Mill put up five runs.

“Anytime you can beat a big rival like that,” head coach Mark Williamson said, “whether it’s one run or eight runs, it feels real good.”

The first inning was slow for both sides, as neither team got a runner on base. The Mill made contact on the ball with the bat, but two infield outs and one outfield out that put the top of an inning to an end. Whitewater battled the Starr’s Mill aggression making contact as well. Although great efforts from both sides, neither team could manage to get a player on base.

“This is definitely my favorite game of the year,” sophomore Lauren Flanders said. “[It’s an encouragement] for us to beat them.”

The second inning seemed to continue the pace of the first. Neither team could get a player past first base, but Lady Panther sophomore Jolie Lester made it to first base. In the bottom of the inning, the Lady Wildcats got a runner on first, but she did not manage to move forward from there.

The tempo changed entirely in the third inning with Starr’s Mill scoring five runs. The first run came from senior Wakana Sato who stole home while senior Lea Duben was at bat. Duben then hit a single, and Flanders scored the second run for the Panthers.

“We came out really wanting to win, fighting every pitch,” senior Kate Ashmore said. “I think we played really well, overall Lilli pitched well, and we all played well defensively.”

Ashmore stepped up to the plate, and Duben stole second. Ashmore hit a hard line drive and sent Duben home. Backes then stepped up to the plate and hit a single that allowed Lester and Ashmore to score the next two runs.

Whitewater struggled to battle back and only managed to get one runner on base in the bottom of the third. This sent the Mill into the fourth inning leading 5-0.

“Once we started stringing hits together, [the five runs] just came with it,” Flanders said. “We just really had a rally going.”

The fourth inning brought one more run for Starr’s Mill. Flanders hit junior Kenall Robinson home with her double.

“We just focused on one hit at a time and getting one base at a time,” Ashmore said.

Ashmore and Lester scored the last two runs in the fifth inning. Junior Paige Andrews stepped up to the plate and hit a sacrifice ball between first and second to allow two more runs to be scored. After the bottom of the inning, the game was over due to mercy rule. The final score was 8-0 with Starr’s Mill victorious.

“We preach scoring first,” Williamson said. “When you score that first run it puts so much pressure on the other team, especially in games like this where it could be a 2-3 game.”

The Mill is now 10-1 overall and remains undefeated in region play. The Wildcats suffered their first loss of the season and now trail Starr’s Mill in the region standings. Starr’s Mill faces another region team tonight at Fayette County at 5:30 p.m.