The Bryan County Ladyskins finished their regular softball season in Portal Tuesday evening.
The Ladyskins faced the Lady Panthers at home earlier in the season and barely came away with the 8-7 win, scoring the winning run in the seventh inning. This time around, it would be the Lady Panthers who were the victors, taking an early lead and finishing 4-3 over the Ladyskins.
The Ladyskins remained scoreless throughout the first three innings. With only two strikeouts during those innings, the Skins consistently put the bat on the ball only to have it fielded by the Panthers defense. The Skins also failed to cash in on the hits they did get, leaving runners on each inning.
An over-the-fence home run with nobody on base provided a shining moment in the fourth inning as senior Meghan Shuman drilled the ball over the left field fence becoming the second Ladyskin hitter this season to accomplish that task. That homerun would make Shuman’s fifth over-the-fence homer in her career.
The game continued into the seventh inning much the same way with the Skins putting runners on only to leave them standing. With a three run deficit and a last chance at bat, the Ladyskins started off the inning with a single by senior Lindsay Seger followed by Bridgett Bacon reaching base on an error by the pitcher. Samantha Howard’s double to left field scored those two runners and left the tying run on second base and no outs. Howard advanced to third on a caught fly ball. With two outs on the board and the go ahead runner, Rebecca Horton, standing on second base having reached on a walk, the Ladyskins were unable once again to advance their runners to home plate and fell to the Lady Panthers 4-3.
Despite how the scoreboard read, the Ladyskins played an outstanding defensive game - holding the Panthers to the four runs scored in the first inning and solidly out-hitting the Panthers 10 hits to 3. Ashley Barfield, who came into the game on the sixth batter of the first inning, recorded six strike outs and a single walk with a single hit batter. The Ladyskins allowed only four batters to reach the bases after the first inning – none of which managed to touch home plate. Also, the four earned runs scored in the first inning would be credited to starting pitcher Samantha Howard along with the loss.
The Redskins made a tremendous effort to overcome the deficit of the first inning and to give their outgoing seniors a win in their last game of their regular season, but came up just a bit short. Leading batters included senior Ashley Barfield going 2 for 4, freshman Bridgett Bacon going 2 for 4, senior Meghan Shuman going 1 for 4 on a homerun, seniors Lindsay Seger and Tara Miles each going 1 for 4, sophomore Samantha Howard going 1-3 with 2RBIs, junior Rebecca Horton going 1-3, and freshman Taylor Stanfield going 1-4.
"I was glad to see Meghan’s strong bat has awakened, and I’m looking forward to a great performance at the region tourney," assistant coach Robin Butler said. "Ashley Barfield really stepped up and pitched a good game."
Coach Kim Covington also remained optimistic despite the loss.
"I thought Ashley came in and pitched a great 6 2/3 innings," Covington said. "She also had a great offensive game for us, going 2-4. Meghan Shuman hit the ball what seemed like a mile as she got her first over-the-fence homerun of this season. I felt like the game was winnable, right down to the seventh inning. We made a good comeback, but just didn’t get the breaks that we needed to pull it out. I am very happy with the way our team is hitting the ball. We are going into the region tournament with some strong bats and a very admirable defense. I look for some exciting games next week. We have a great chance to come out on top."
The sub region tournament will begin Oct. 9 at Hendrix Park. The first games will start at 3 p.m. with the Ladyskins facing The Claxton Lady Tigers.