LEWISBURG — The Tri-County North Panthers softball team went up against the Southeastern Local Trojans on Thursday, May 12, in Division IV sectional action. Despite a big day from Brooke Timmons at the plate who hit 2-for-2 on the day, Tri-County North lost 11-1 to the No. 2 seed Trojans.
TCN advanced by way of forfeit over Jefferson on Tuesday, May 10.
On Thursday, the Panthers started off going three and out. Southeastern however, got off on fire, starting with a pair of base hits from Jade Myers and Riley Harrington. After the third batter popped up in foul territory for an out, Haylee Lee cracked a line drive double to right field, batting in the first two baserunners. A ground out advanced Lee to third, then Leslie Flores hit a hard hit to Megan Hemp for a base hit, advancing Lee to cross the plate for Southeastern’s third run in the inning, ultimately leaving two on base.
The second inning proved to be equally fruitless for Tri-County North, again going three up and three down on two flyouts and a strike out. Southeastern took advantage of the Panthers’ defensive efforts and converted their offense into scoring three more runs off two doubles, a throwing error, and a walk.
The top of the third saw some production from the Lady Panthers. Kaitlyn Heindl reached base after a passed ball on a strike-three call. Brooke Timmons made a single to right field to place Heindl in scoring position, but they were unable to produce any runs in the inning.
North did manage to prevent any runs scored from Southeastern, despite giving up a double by the first batter, by causing the next three outs in succession.
The fourth inning saw Hailey Stupp hit an infield single but she failed to cross the plate. Going into the bottom of the fourth with Southeastern up 5-0, things got ugly. Riley Cruse took over the pitching duties for Megan Hemp — her first opponent almost reached first base on a dropped third-strike pitch but was tagged in time. The next batter doubled to right field, followed by a single to left, putting runners at third and second. A throwing error to first allowed the first two runners to score and the third batter to reach second base. Adding a base hit from the fifth batter, Logan Mcfann slammed a home run over the left field fence to add three more runs, making the score now 11-0, after the next two batters went out.
The fifth and final inning did prevent a shutout for Tri-County North. Timmons led with a double, while reaching third base from a ground out by Cassi Stinson. Cruse batted in Timmons on a grounder to left field. There were more opportunities, as Cruse stole second base, but she was thrown out at the plate after Megan Hemp reached multiple bases on an error. The game ended as Morgan Helman hit a fly to centerfield to deny the potential surge for a rally.
Tri-County North registered five total hits on the evening, and accumulated eight bases. Pitching by Megan Hemp (L) and Riley Cruse combined for four strikeouts and only one walk.
The event marked the final appearance on the season for the Lady Panthers, while lone senior Brooke Timmons ends her career here.
“We had about the last two weeks before the tournament, three or four games against good opponents, get rained out. Those games would have helped us out to prepare for the Southeastern game. We couldn’t get a good game plan together,” said second-year coach Brian Stupp. “We didn’t play a bad game defensively, but they picked us apart by hitting into the gaps and I give them hats off to that. We just couldn’t get things running offensively until late into the game — but by then it was too late.
“During the season, we had a list of goals and we’ve met about half of those,” Stupp said. “With a core of our team as underclassmen, we needed leaders. I am hoping next year that we take off where we left off this year. We should be better and stronger if we can get most of our players back and maintain our improvements. About four or five freshmen should come back next year. I don’t expect them to lose anything, set new goals and I expect them to step up and I will put them under more pressure so that we don’t get stagnant.”
About Timmons, Stupp said: “She played left field and a bit of centerfield last year. As this year went on, she was my most productive bat. She truly loves the game and she basically did what I expect an upperclassmen to do. I couldn’t be more impressed with her performance and she gave it her all throughout the entire season. She set the example for the younger girls — her plate appearances were what a senior should be when going out with a bang.”
Tri-County North finished 11-10 overall and 7-5 in the CCC, an improvement over last year’s 11-14 overall and 5-7 in the league.
Reach Oliver at 937-683-4062 or at Twitter@osanders_RH