Panthers hold off Greyhound seventh inning rally

John Giffin

Sports editor

Completing a double header sweep that began March 24, the Neosho County Community College softball team (14-6 Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference East, 22-18 overall) beat Fort Scott Community College (5-17, 21-26) 3-2 in Fort Scott Wednesday.

The game started in the top of the second inning with a 1-0 lead for Neosho. The game was resumed after being called for weather.

The Panthers and Greyhounds had to keep the lineups that were being used when the game was called. The Panthers’ line up has changed significantly since the first attempt at playing the game.

“You start the game where it’s at,” Panther Head Coach Kim Alexander said. “You can make those adjustments, but you still start with that line up. I can’t rearrange it, I can sub but that’s it.”

To pick up the sweep, the Panthers held off a late game rally from the Greyhounds. Down 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh, Fort Scott’s Alex Yeoman scored a run on a fielder’s choice to second after a bobbled ball to short stop that gave Fort Scott its second out and narrowed the Neosho margin to 3-2. 

With Greyhound ducks on the pond and in scoring position, Neosho managed the final out of the game with the 6-4 force out.

In the top of the seventh, Neosho extended to 3-1 lead with a run, the second of the day and third of the game, when Taylor Pence scored on an Greyhound error on a hard hit ground ball to short stop by Karolyna Gomez. 

Fort Scott scored its first run in the bottom of the fifth but could have been on the board earlier if it weren’t for a home run saving catch into the temporary left field fence by outfielder Jozie Garner in the bottom of the third.

“It was a hard hit ball to left center and I didn’t know I was that close to the fence,” Garner said, “I was focused on the ball and I caught it. I landed on the pole and the pole cracked below me. I was really shocked I still had the ball in my glove.”

‘The catch’ came after the top of the third in which Neosho scored its second run of the game and the first run of the day. Neosho made it a 2-0 lead with a sacrifice fly RBI by Gomez that scored Pence from third. Pence reached base on a triple earlier in the inning.

Lexie Heiniger earned the win, pitching a complete game. 

The Panthers have one regular season game left to play. Neosho returns home Saturday to host Kansas City Kansas Community College (6-16, 15-20) on sophomore night and Breast Cancer Awareness Day in Chanute. The double header begins at 2 p.m.

“We definitely want to come back and get at them,” Assistant Coach Samantha Allen said. “They got us last year. Definitely coming out with a fire in that one.”

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