Don Kuhnen, AP Sports
The EP Panthers girls softball team improved to 5-1 Tuesday afternoon with a hard fought 3-0 win over the visiting Sherrard Tigers. The Panthers rode the standout pitching of Aylah Jones that included 17 strikeouts to remain undefeated in conference with a 4-0 record.
Both teams were handcuffed by the pitchers throughout the contest but both had opportunities to score. Sherrard twice had runners reach third base but Jones was able to get a strike out to end the innings and keep the game scoreless. EP’s best chance to score was in the third when Sydney Schwartz led off with a triple over the center fielders head. A suicide squeeze bunt though was thwarted by Sherrard as Schwartz was tagged out in a run down. EP was only able to reach base 4 times in the first 5 innings all on hits.
The Panthers finally scored in their half of the sixth. After an out, Emma Davis doubled off the top of the left field fence. Jayden Johnson followed with a line drive double that scored Davis to give the Panthers the lead. Mya Jones then greeted Sherrard’s relief pitcher with a home run to right center on the first pitch to make it 3-0.
Two nice catches by second baseman MeKenzie Loechel and one last strikeout by Jones finished the game. Coach Kerrie McDonnell was thrilled with the contest. “We threatened a couple time early but finally strung some hits together late to get the job done. Aylah was strong all night and powered through a tough Sherrard lineup. It was a big game and a big win, but we have so many more coming up!”
Jones allowed 4 hits, walked 3 and struck out 17 batters in the outstanding performance.
The Panthers travel to Sterling Wednesday and go to Sherrard Thursday for a rematch with the Tigers.