Panther softball wins opener

(photo by Steve Woodhouse)

Ashlyn Finarty worked five innings in the circle, giving up only one run, four hits and struck out three as the Knoxville Panther varsity softball team defeated Southeast Warren 8-1 Monday night, June 15.

Finarty had a little trouble in the first, which allowed the Warhawks to jump to a 1-0 lead. Post-game, Finarty admitted she had some butterflies, but they soon fluttered away.

Ashlyn FInarty (photo by Steve Woodhouse)

Meanwhile, her team showed support by getting the run back in the bottom of the first. The first three Panther batters each drew walks before Reilly Finarty hit a sacrifice fly to drive Brittany Bacorn home to tie it up.

The Panthers got two more in the second. Madelynn Liston reached on an error before being advanced by a Tanna Davis bunt. Olivia Maasdam smacked a single to right, followed by another single by Emma Dunkin.

Two batters later, Ashlyn Finarty came to help her own cause with a shot over the heads of the middle infielders, all the way out into center to score Liston and Maasdam to put the Panthers up 3-1.

Olivia Maasdam (photo by Steve Woodhouse)

In the third, Jadyn Streigle singled and stole second before being driven in by Maasdam, who belted a single to right to put the Panthers up 4-1.

The Knoxville hit parade continued in the fourth, as Ashlyn Finarty hit a single to the third basemen to start the inning off. Maddy Findley hammered a pitched to left center to put two on board for Knoxville. Both runners were advanced two batters later in the form of Steigle before Liston hit an RBI single over the shortstop’s head. Davis walked before Maasdam hit a slow roller that passed the pitcher and force another run in. Dunkin drove in two more runners with hard hit ball to right to put the Panthers up 8-1.

That would be the end of the scoring in the game. After a 1-2-3 top of the fifth, Ashlyn Finarty sat down and Ciara Heffron came on in relief. Heffron struck out two and gave up two hits.

“It was good to start off with a win,” Maasdam said. “We didn’t want to underestimate them. Southeast Warren did pretty good today.” Maasdam went 3-for-4 in the game.

Ashlyn Finarty said she settled in and began to feel confident as the game went on. She was appreciative of the support her defense and offense provided.

“We all played hard and put everything out there,” she said.

This marks Head Coach Carla Smith’s first varsity softball win. The Panthers next travel to Pella Christian on Thursday night. The Eagles are coming off a 12-9 loss to Oskaloosa Monday night.