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Women of Distinction

Panthers no match for Hawks

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 8:48 p.m. CDT
(Herald photo by Lisa Pesavento —
Gardner-South Wilmington first baseman Alli Perkins tries to connect off Prairie Central pitcher Maci Oelschlager Tuesday. The Hawks won 15-0.

SOUTH WILMINGTON — Seemingly every ball that a Prairie Central batter hit Tuesday was hit hard.

Unfortunately for the Gardner-South Wilmington softball team, few of those hard shots were hit at one of the Lady Panthers' fielders.

When all the damage was done, it was Prairie Central staying unbeaten with a 15-0 win over GSW in five innings.

The Hawks (4-0) pounded out 14 hits while the Lady Panthers (0-2) committed four errors.

"Hitting their spot, we struggled," GSW coach Michelle Lardi said of her team's pitching. "We seemed to get down on ourselves tonight. Once we made an error, we didn't pick ourselves back up. Usually that isn't an issue with us. Usually we don't have that problem."

Prairie Central got one one run in the first inning, seven in the third, five in the fourth and two in the fifth. Abby Horrie was GSW's starting pitcher, giving up eight earned runs in 2 1/3 innings. Emily Foley pitched the final 2 1/3, giving up five earned. Horrie took the loss, her first of the season.

Every single hitter in the Hawks lineup scored a run, while eight of the nine players in the lineup had hits.

"We don't have anybody that's going to come out and hit home runs. We have to have everybody kind of step up and do their part," Prairie Central coach Luke Kripple said. "I told them if we put the ball in play I like our chances. Avoid the strikeout, take our walks when they're there, stuff like that. We did that tonight."

Offensively for GSW, Foley, Horrie, Katie Gretz and Paige Lardi had hits against Hawks pitcher Maci Oelschlager, who improved to 2-0 with the win.

Tuesday was the Panthers' second straight loss to start the season, with both defeats coming against Class 2A schools. GSW lost to Coal City on Monday.

"This year we started off with tough teams. We didn't ease into the season at all," Lardi said. "It's helping as a coach to figure out our lineup and move things around for the future before we get to our conference games, and get it solid and know what to practice with.

"We're still moving girls around trying to figure things out. We've got a lot of new girls and girls playing new positions this year. Trying to get the best out of everyone."

The list of Panthers playing in new spots includes Gretz, who's in her first year at shortstop. The team also has a new catcher in Kailyn Schultz and an entire new outfield.

"I think we need to pick ourselves up. I think the errors got to us. I think we're just still getting used to our positions," Gretz said. "If we work at it more, we'll work as a team. We do have a lot of talent, I think the most out of my high school career. ... We just need to get it all put together as a team."

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