Improved bats get Panthers win

Sean Hastings, Staff Reporter

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In the first two games against Southeast Missouri, the Eastern softball team combined for only 10 hits in the two losses.

Sunday, the Panthers came out and got 13 hits in the 7-4 win in the final game of the series.

Freshman Tori Johnson led the Panthers offense over the weekend going 4-9 in the three games.

Seniors Hannah Cole and Bailey O’Dell both struggled in the first two games, but showed why they have the top batting averages on the team along with top two in runs batted in.

Cole and O’Dell both went 2-for-4 in the third game and drove in a combined five runs. O’Dell had three runs batted in and Cole drove in two.

Cole has the highest batting average on the team at .363 with 24 RBI’s. O’Dell is right behind her with a .361 average but she leads the team with 37 RBI’s.

Nine different players contributed to the Panthers’ 13 hits in the third game of the series. Four players also drove in at least one run.

Even though the Panthers put out 13 hits and scored seven runs, all of the runs took place late in the game.

The Panthers scored all seven runs from the fifth inning to the seventh.

The Panthers were losing 1-0 since the second inning, but the Panthers never looked back once freshman Andrea Roberts got the scoring started with her bunt in the fifth inning.

They would tack on two more runs in the fifth, three runs in the sixth and one more insurance run in the seventh.

Sophomore Hannah Rachor was the other Panther to contribute to the scoring with Roberts, O’Dell and Cole.

The Panthers scored 11 runs combined in the two games as they were shut out in the first game.

But of those 11 runs, eight different Panthers drove in at least one baserunner.

Contributing to the Panthers four runs scored in a 9-4 loss were, juniors April Markowski and Katie Watson, and sophomores Ashlynne Paul and Amber Toenyes.

For the Panthers’ bats to come up the way they did late in the game was huge for them as a loss would have made a Ohio Valley Conference tournament berth much more difficult due to how close the race is.

Every win always matters, but when it is as close at it is in the OVC standings the little things matter much more.

The Panthers late bats in game three saved them this weekend and they will have to make sure those bats come alive this coming weekend when they take on top seed Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in their final three games of the season.

It is also the final home game the Panthers will play in the 2015 season.

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]