Swept by rivals

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Georgiana Panthers Lady Panthers recovered from their 15-0 loss to Excel by notching their first win of the season on Friday afternoon against rival McKenzie High School.

The game was the fourth game of the season for Georgiana, but was the season opener for McKenzie.

The Lady Tigers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead and then freshman Tia Bush ripped a single that pushed another run across the plate to go ahead 2-0.

"I don't feel so good about our game," said Bush. "I had a lot of errors, but it was my first time playing infield."

The Lady Panthers were held scoreless in the bottom of the first inning but responded with a strong offensive showing in the bottom of the second.

Tenisha Page drew a walk to open the inning and then advanced to second when Morgan Till drew a walk also. Vanessa Averett singled allowing Page to score on a throwing error and bring the Lady Panthers within one run of the lead, 2-1. Till scored the tying run on a passed ball. With the game tied at 2-2, Courtney Rudolph drew a walk and was knocked in by a blast from Julie Scott, pushing the Lady Panthers up 4-2.

McKenzie quickly responded in the top of the second inning when the squad's lone senior, Kayla Conard ripped a hard hit double into the outfield.

"We've got a lot of new girls this year," said Conard. "I don't know what it was. She put a lot of people in this game, next game won't be like that."

Jordan Smith replaced Conard as the courtesy runner and went on to score when a throw from Georgiana's Kay Maye went into leftfield.

"It feels great to hit home runs," said Maye. "It feels great to win."

Georgiana is unable to respond at the end of the third inning and gave up another run in the top of the fifth on a single from Brittany Nixon.

That was the only time that McKenzie led the game after that.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Georgiana put on a scoring clinic.

Anna Nelson produced a run as well as Scott thanks to an inside the park home run off the bat of Maye into the left field.

"It was awesome to win," said Nelson.

Page keeps the rally going by reaching on a three-base error and then is scored by a grounder from Till. At the conclusion of the fourth inning, the Lady Panthers were on top 8-5.

"We've got a lot of errors we've got to work on," said Cindy Lowe, coach of the Lady Panthers. "Looked like they lost it. First game jitters I guess. None of our practices look like this. But we've got this one out of our system and Monday we will beat Florala."

Their offensive production continued into the bottom of the next inning. Sarah Lowery scored a run, followed by Nelson and Scott. Cheatham doubled to rightfield and Maye singled scoring Cheatham. Paige went opposite field with a triple that cleared the bases and push the Lady Panthers within one run of ending the game, 14-5, but was unable to push the winning run across the plate.

McKenzie begin to string together a small rally of their own in the top of the sixth inning. Bush scored her second run of the night, bringing the tally to 14-6. Ashley Godwin stole home but was called out due to batter's interference when the Lady Tiger standing in the box for the at bat, didn't move.

"Having a lot of new players does hurt," said Conard. "This year, since it's my last year, I'm the only catcher it's hard to teach these new girls what to do. Being the only senior on the team, it's not helping at all. I work, I try to go to school and everything else. We made a lot of errors and we will be practicing tomorrow to get better.

The Lady Panthers push one run across in the bottom of the fifth and then end the game when Cheatham triples to right and scores Scott.

"It feels great to finally get a win," said Cheatham.

Georgiana will be back in action on Monday afternoon when they play host to Florala.

"It's the third game, we got beat by Flomaton, we got beat 15-1 the second game," said Andy Cattret. "We've got a lot to work on, fielding. We've got to work on every aspect of the game."

Earlier in the day, the Georgiana Panthers and the McKenzie Tigers faced off on the baseball diamond.

In the second inning, the score was 2-0. by the bottom of it, the Panthers had begun to manufacture an offense.

The Panthers produce a bulk of their runs in the top of fourth inning and push the tally to 8-1.

"We made too many mistakes and too many errors, we've got to get better and we've got to go to work," said Eartis Lee, coach of the McKenzie Tigers.

But, the Tigers respond and push three runs across the plate over the next three innings. But, in the top of the seventh, the Panthers put the game out of reach and shut down the Tigers in the bottom of the inning.

"It was a good game to back off a loss against Excel like we did earlier," said Donald Ray Mixon, coach of the Panthers. "We hit the ball pretty good. We are still making Errors that we shouldn't make at this point of the season. But it's good to end the week with a win."

When the dust settled, the Panthers were the victors, 12-4.

For the Panthers, Kenny Peterson was the winning pitcher, going the distance and notching 16 strikeouts.

"Kenny Peterson pitched a complete game," said Mixon. "My young guys are still improving, I'm still looking forward to the future with my young guys."