The Panthers (12-8, 9-5) lost to the Warriors 17-11, leaving Martin undefeated in district play.
Warrior errors helped the Panthers go up 3-0 in the first inning. Caroline Adair reached third on an error by the right fielder and brought in the first two runs of the game. A dropped ball by the pitcher then allowed Adair to score as well.
However, the Warriors woke up in the second inning. The Warriors scored four unanswered runs, including a sacrifice fly hit by Devon Potter, allowing Lacy Mann to reach home.
Things got out of hand for the Panthers in the third inning, where two errors led to five runs for the Warriors. The Panthers had no answer for that and finished the inning down 9-3.
After the third, Panther head coach Sarah Dokie-Reyes switched pitcher Lydia Vidales to shortstop and brought in backup pitcher Nina Ortega to pitch the rest of the game. Dokie-Reyes said the change in pitchers was needed to switch things up on defense.
“It all starts with the pitcher,” said Dokie-Reyes. “We needed to change it up, because anyone can hit a fastball. If you change the speed variations you can mix up the batters and throw them off.”
The switch seemed to be working in the Panthers’ favor until the top of the fifth inning. With two outs and two runners on base, Sabrina Pecina hit one over the fence for a home run, putting Martin up 12-3.
The Panthers, scoreless since the first inning, finally showed some tenacity with a solo homer by Vidales. But that didn’t help the Panthers on defense, where Ortega hit three separate batters during the game. The Warriors scored five more runs, bringing the score to 17-4.
However, the Panthers refused to go down without a fight. Dokie-Reyes said her team’s relentless energy has been their greatest asset this year.
“This team always has to fight for everything they get,” said Dokie-Reyes. “That’s one thing they don’t do is roll over; they don’t want to anymore. They’ll never just give up and take it.”
The Panthers capitalized on errors in the sixth inning, scoring six runs and coming within seven points of the Warriors, avoiding the mercy rule and forcing a seventh inning.
The Warriors were scoreless in the seventh, but the deficit ended up being too much for the Panthers. Despite one run by Summer Sadler, the Panthers couldn’t crawl back.
The Panthers play their last home game of the season against Arlington Bowie Friday night at 6 p.m. The game will be the team’s senior night, the last home game for the five seniors on the team.
Dokie-Reyes continues to preach discipline at the plate as being what will determine her team’s success Friday night.
“Whenever you transition from this type of really good pitcher to someone who is just a little less advanced, it just comes down to discipline at the plate,” said Dokie-Reyes. “Not lunging at it, staying back, not swinging at bad pitches . . . that’s really the key to it.”