Panthers comeback preview of another thrilling season?

“We Clutch Much” back in action

By Ray DiMonda Correspondent
Posted 3/23/22

OAKLEAF - After a day one game of errors, the Ridgeview High Panthers softball team; 5-0 losers to University Christian on Thursday, showed some mettle with a come-from-behind 9-6 win over Providence …

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Panthers comeback preview of another thrilling season?

“We Clutch Much” back in action

Posted

OAKLEAF - After a day one game of errors, the Ridgeview High Panthers softball team; 5-0 losers to University Christian on Thursday, showed some mettle with a come-from-behind 9-6 win over Providence on day two. Day three proved unsuccessful as the Panthers lost a 5-1 spot to West Nassau (3A region finals) in the annual Oakleaf Tournament of Champions that featured matchups of area teams with deep playoff runs from last year; University Christian (2A Final Four), Ridgeview (4A Final Four), Oakleaf (7A region semi-finals), West Nassau (3A region semifinals), Baldwin (3A region quarters) and Baker County (4A region finals).

On Friday afternoon, the Ridgeview Panthers faced off against the Providence School Stallions under some very unique weather. During the game, the players dealt with over a 20 degree temperature drop, over 30 mile per hour winds, and rain in the end. If fans left after the fifth inning, they have no idea the real show wasn’t the weather, but the Panther comeback from almost certain loss. After five innings, the Panthers were looking up out of a five-run hole, but never gave up.

“It’s all mind games right now. They were thinking with some of our starters gone right now, what can we do?,” said Panther Head Coach Casey Thompson.

In the top of the sixth inning, the Panthers smacked out four runs and realized they are not out of it, 5-4. The Stallions added another run in the bottom of the sixth to go up 6-4. In their last at bat in the top of the seventh, the Panthers lit up the scoreboard like a movie theater marque with five more runs to go up 9-6.

“This is the most well-rounded team I’ve ever had,” said Thompson. “I’ve told them from the beginning of the year, this team can either be the best team we’ve ever had, or the worst team we ever had. That is something they have to decide.” Providence went three batters up, three outs to close the game with Ridgeview pulling out a masterful come from behind 9-6 victory.

The Panthers came into the

tournament with the handicap of several players not available to play due to spring break commitments.

“We have four of our starters out of town right now for spring break,” said Thompson.

Coach Thompson could be heard in between each inning pumping up his players, getting them to believe in themselves. “They always seem to find a way to dig deep towards the end.” After the early Stallion five run rally, the Panthers just needed a spark. It took six innings to figure it out, but when they did, they did it big.

Giana Michel was on first after getting hit by a pitch. Michel was bumped to third when Mary Girgis hit a single fly ball to center. With one out, Natalie Foret loaded the bases when she walked. The Panthers were finally on the board when Lily Bennet hit an RBI single scoring Michel. Next up, KK Watts dinged a two run RBI single line drive to center to score Girgis and Foret. Ky Torrence walked to load the bases. Now with two outs, Paetyn Kirk walked to bring the score to 5-4 as the inning ended.

Providence added another run with a sacrifice fly to pull ahead 6-4, with only one more Panther at-bat. Wesley started the rally with help from a Stallion error to get safely aboard first base. A Mary Girgis bunt that died with perfection right in front of the plate had runners safely on first and third. Natalie Foret grounded out to the shortstop allowing Wesley to score, 5-6. Lily Bennet went deep right field for a sacrifice fly out that scored a tagging up Girgis, 6-6. Watts, Torrence, and Bartlett added the last three runs for the 9-6 lead.

“I don’t even want to know how many pop-ups we had in that game,” said Thompson. “We have some stuff to figure out, but I have confidence that they are going to be able to do that.”

With a three run cushion, it was all Panther defense to close the game out with a pop-out and two ground balls to end the game 9-6.

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