Panthers top Hornets in softball showdown

Published 10:22 pm Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pelham's Sam Kusiak allowed just one earned run in a March 11 contest against Chelsea. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

Pelham’s Samantha Kusiak allowed just one earned run in a March 11 contest against Chelsea. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Writer

PELHAM — What started off as a defensive battle between two county rivals turned into an offensive showcase, as the Pelham Panthers used two big innings to take an 11-2 win over the Chelsea Hornets.

Joslyn Johnson kicked the game off with a triple for the Hornets. She scored two batters later when a sacrifice fly by Maygen Boaz brought her in to put Chelsea up 1-0 early.

Caiti Davis took to the mound for the Hornets, and retired the first three batters in order to maintain the lead.

Neither team scored again until Pelham exploded for six runs in the bottom of the third. Steely Martin started the inning with a single, and following a Kristian Foster walk and Jordan Ingram bunt single, Madi Walker singled to put the Panthers up, 2-1 when Martin and Foster came across to score.

Emily Spain then hit a line drive to center, with Ingram scoring on a throw home.
The Hornets opted to make a pitching change, with Alexis Eisenberg taking over for Davis, who remained in the game in a different position. Eisenberg struggled at first, hitting Reagan Curtis to load the bases. Eisenberg then hit Mekhi Mayfield to bring in Walker, and Spain scored on a passed ball to bring the score to 5-1 in favor of Pelham.

After Curtis scored on a groundout, Eisenberg got Martin to groundout to end the inning.

Chelsea put a run on the board in the bottom of the fourth when Alex Smithson scored on a Mallory Bradford groundout, bringing the score to 6-2 after four-and-a-half innings.

The two squads remained locked at 6-2 until Pelham tacked on four more in the bottom of the fifth, courtesy of Mayfield, Kusiak, Ingram and Caitlyn Sapp.

Chelsea went three up, three down in the top of the sixth, while Pelham added its final run of the contest in grand fashion as Curtis crushed a homerun over the left field fence to give the Panthers the 11-2 final score.

Samantha Kusiak went the distance on the mound for Pelham, giving up one earned run on six hits across seven innings, striking out three.

Both Walker and Spain went 3-for-4 at the plate for Pelham, with Walker posting 3 RBIs.

For Chelsea, Johnston went 2-for-2 with a run scored at the plate, while Davis took the loss on the mound.

Chelsea will take on Oak Mountain at home March 20, while Pelham will face Spain Park, also on March 20.