Panthers pull off comeback wins


Sean Hastings

Junior pitcher Jessica Wireman delivers a pitch in the Panthers’ 3-1 win against Belmont Friday night. Wireman picked up two wins this weekend.

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor


It is not something the Panthers want to make a habit of, but when facing an early deficit, they were able to erase that and come out with the win. Two out of the four wins the Panthers picked up were comeback victories.

The Panthers went 3-1 over the weekend against Belmont and Tennessee State. Eastern lost the opener against Belmont 4-3 in the seventh, won 3-1 in the second game, 5-3 against Tennessee State in game one and 9-1 in the second game.

Tennessee State scored twice in the top of the first inning in the first game against the Panthers on Sunday, but after that, the Panthers’ bats came alive and they eventually pulled out a 5-3 win.

Eastern was able to do it with two outs to score both runs in the first. With a two-run lead and two outs, Danica Gleason was given an inning-ending groundball, but she booted it and the inning continued.

Freshman Mia Davis reached on the play and was driven in on freshman Haley Mitchell’s double to right center and she was driven in on Friday night’s hero Amber Toenyes.

That was not the only time Eastern trailed it that game and had to piece together a comeback.

Courtney Geralds laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt in the third inning to score Kasey Cox and give Tennessee State a 3-2 lead. Cox led off the inning with a double.

Eastern had an answer. It scored three runs in the bottom half of the third to take the lead.

“Today, the first inning was a huge wake-up call for our team,” coach Kim Schuette said. “It wasn’t looking to good for our team. I kind of got on them a little bit, but the responded in the bottom of the first and came back with two runs right away. That was good because that is starting to show me some toughness.”

What helped Eastern Sunday against Tennessee State was having lively bats from the whole lineup. But that was not the case Friday against Belmont.

Wind was blowing in hard in the first game and died down a bit for the second, but it was still enough to play against Eastern’s hitters until the sixth inning.

The Panthers had just one hit in the game until they pieced together a three-hit inning capped off with, once again, a two out three-run home run by Toenyes.

Wind blowing it, the mindset was to keep the ball on the ground or line drive. And the way her home run went out, was a version of a line drive. It was a shot that left the field quickly.

“That’s not my usual home run. Usually it’s like towering, but I’m glad it was like that because I don’t think it would have went out if it was too high,” Toenyes said.

She has six home runs on the year.

The comeback wins are fun for the team to play in and fun to watch, but playing with a lead is more comfortable, Schuette said.

And despite having putting the Panthers in a hole early, the pitching held the team together for most of the weekend. And that is where it starts for Eastern to not have to be the comeback kids every game.
“Whenever you’re the home team, that pitcher is going to set the tone and I think both our pitchers are OK with that but now the defense has to realize that they’re going to set the tone, just not the pitcher and that was the big wake-up call in the first game (Sunday).”

Juniors Jessica Wireman and Michelle Rogers pitched all 26 innings this weekend.

Wireman picked up two wins and Rogers earned a win as well. Both pitchers have ERAs below 3.00

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