An unlikely upset

Lady Chiefs take Starr’s Mill by surprise in late-game comeback


Annika Pepper

Senior Lauren Flanders returns to second base. The hitting core for Starr’s Mill struggled to gain any momentum, only scoring two runs in the third inning. Pitching ruled the game with minimal scoring, though McIntosh orchestrated a late comeback to take the game 4-2. Junior Lilli Backes put together five strikeouts in her five innings in the circle. Backes and McIntosh pitcher, senior Rebecca Muh, combined for a total of 16 strikeouts throughout the game.

Daniel Stackhouse, Sports Editor

Coming off of a 19-0 blowout against Fayette County, the Lady Panthers softball team started the season with plenty of momentum. However, a Lady Chiefs team with something to prove protected their home turf Tuesday night with a 4-2 win.

The win marked the first time in at least seven years that the Lady Chiefs defeated the Lady Panthers.

McIntosh pitcher Rebecca Muh winds up. Muh struck out 11 Lady Panther batters throughout the game. She recently committed to the University of Georgia’s softball team. (Annika Pepper)

Offensive power was lacking overall as pitching ruled the game. Starr’s Mill pitcher junior Lilli Backes racked up five strikeouts while McIntosh pitcher, and University of Georgia commit, senior Rebecca Muh shut down the Lady Panther hitting core with 11 strikeouts.

“I would rather [this scenario] happen now than the end of the season,” head coach Mark Williamson said. “We’ve got two choices: we either grow from it here and learn from it, or we say ‘to heck with it’ and go the opposite direction. Hopefully we learn from it and get better every day.”

Through the opening inning, both sides went three up and three down. While both teams got runners on the bases in the second inning, neither team could score any runs, leaving the first two innings of the game scoreless.

In the third inning, with sophomore Emily Quina on second base, senior Lauren Flanders hit a double to bring the runner home for the first score of the game. Following that score, senior Jolie Lester hit a fly out, but Flanders scored from second. McIntosh had no response, ending the inning with Starr’s Mill holding a 2-0 lead.

The two succeeding innings remained quiet until the bottom of the fifth. Following two walks, freshman Marissa Itchon brought in junior Kayla Kinzer for McIntosh’s first run of the game. The next play, Starr’s Mill dropped a potential popout to bring freshman Addison Gaines in for another run. 

“[McIntosh’s comeback] is kind of like a kick in the butt,” Flanders said. “We beat them for so long. It’s kind of like you get comfortable with games that you feel like you’ve won before you started. We have to take what we’re given and just scrap more runs for us.”

Following that, senior Ashlyn Gaines hit a single to bring in Itchon for the Lady Chiefs’ third straight run. Right after Muh hit another single, another runner came in to give McIntosh four straight runs to end the inning with a 4-2 lead.

Starr’s Mill did not score any runs in the sixth inning, but they prevented McIntosh from extending their lead any further. At the top of the seventh, the Lady Panthers went three up, three down in the top of the seventh to seal a 4-2 victory for the Lady Chiefs.

“[I took away from this game] just that we’re not always guaranteed the win, or the hit, or the play,” junior catcher Ashley Sikes said. “We really have to keep our heads in it and keep playing hard as long as the game’s going on, not to lose focus of what the goal is.”

As of now, the Lady Panthers’ overall record now drops to 1-1. With the loss being so early on in the season, the team has more than enough time to learn from it, adjust, and become better because of it. However, their next big test will be against a star studded Whitewater team at home today. Game time is set for 7 p.m.