Pekin perfect in home tournament
PACKWOOD – The Pekin Panther softball team was a perfect 3-0 in its own softball classic Saturday.
The Panthers won two of their games in dramatic fashion, coming from behind in the final inning.
Pekin began the day by defeating Van Buren, 5-4. Van Buren scored two runs in the fourth and two more in the seventh to take a brief 4-3 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, Maranda Baker and Tiana Slaney walked to put two runners on with no outs. After a pop-up, Peyton Atwood singled up the middle to score Baker. After another pop-up and a walk, Cheyann Lankford singled to drive in pinch-runner Courtney Comstock for the winning run.
Lankford also pitched all seven innings that game. She allowed four runs, one earned, on five hits and one walk with no strikeouts.
“Cheyann is a contact pitcher,” Panther coach Bryan Marlay said. “She is not overpowering but she moves the ball in and out. If we play defense behind her, we do well. She had to overcome a bunch of defensive mistakes this game.”
The Panthers committed eight errors against Van Buren.
In the Panthers’ second game against West Branch, Pekin once again found itself trailing in the late innings. West Branch performed a rather unusual feat that game. It scored in every single inning and yet still lost.
West Branch scored one in the first, three in the second, two in the third, two in the fourth, two in the fifth and one in the sixth. Pekin scored two in the first, two in the second, six in the fifth and two in the sixth for the win.
The softball classic was operating under a time limit whereby no new innings are begun after 1.5 hours. After five innings, the time limit had been reached, yet the game was still tied. The sixth inning was played according to international rules under which a runner starts at second base with no outs.
In the bottom of the sixth, Brittany Gillam started the inning on second. Leslie Stone singled to put runners on first and third. Stone then stole second. Maranda Baker singled up the middle to score Gillam and move Stone to third.
Slaney reached on an infield single but Stone had to stay put at third on the play because the ball rolled down the third base line, which would have made her an easy target. Madelyn Baker followed with an RBI single to score Stone and win the game for the Panthers.
The Panthers won another close game despite playing poor defense again, this time committing seven errors.
Lankford improved to 12-2 with the win. She allowed 11 runs, only five of which were earned, on nine hits and two walks while fanning three.
Pekin dominated the third and final game against Harmony, winning 14-2 in four innings.
Courtney Comstock got the win and is 2-2 on season. Both of the runs she allowed were earned runs. She surrendered one hit and one walk while striking out two.
Maranda Baker went 2-3 with a double and three RBIs. Kelsie Spillman was 2-3 with two RBIs and two runs. Gillam went 2-2 with a double.
The Panthers travel to Highland for a conference game tonight at 5:30 p.m.