White’s slam sends Panthers to state semifinals
Special to the Whig
— Carly White stepped to the plate in the bottom of the third inning with the bases loaded and one out in a scoreless game and delivered the decisive swing for Perryville in the 1A North Region Final again visiting McDonough on Friday.
White launched a pitch to deep left field and hustled around the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam to give the Panthers the lead and help propel them to the state semifinals with an 8-3 victory over the Rams.
“I knew I was going to get an inside pitch,” White said. “My coach told me not to swing at an inside pitch. I knew I had to prove something here. I knew that my team needed a hit. I just wanted to put the ball in play. I closed my eyes and swung, and it went where it needed to go.”
Jordyn Reese led off the third for Perryville (20-0) with a single and moved to second on an Amber Keene walk. After a sacrifice bunt by Ashley Meekins that moved Reese and Keene up a base, Lydia Hill was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
White came up and walloped a pitch that went over the left fielder’s head and skidded all the way to the fence. Reese, Keene and Hill all scored easily on the play, and White hustled around the bases and beat the throw home for the grand slam to give the Panthers a 4-0 lead.
“I can’t believe it happened. That’s my greatest [moment] I ever had playing softball,” White said. “It was awesome. I got to run around the bases, and I don’t get to do that often. It’s definitely awesome.”
McDonough got on the board in the top of the fifth when Jodie Parlett scored on a Reed Butler single, but Perryville responded in the bottom half of the frame when White drove in Meekins with a sacrifice fly to left for her fifth RBI of the game to make it 5-1.
The Rams scored twice in the sixth inning to make it a two-run game at 5-3, but once again, the Panthers responded and tacked on three insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth to extended their lead to 8-3.
Pitcher Emily Phillips retired the side in order in the top of the seventh, and when she struck out the final batter, Perryville congregated to the third base line to celebrate its return to the state semifinals for the first time since 2013.
“It feels amazing. We came into this game thinking that we can’t be thinking too much about the stakes because we take one game at a time,” said Phillips, who struck out 13 batters in a complete-game win. “We came into this game and thought, ‘We had to be on our ‘A game.’ We have to have to take it one inning at a time. We have to hit the ball and play altogether.’”
The Panthers advance to the state semifinals where they will play Pikesville at Bachman Park in Glen Burnie on Tuesday. For undefeated Perryville, each win it has racked up thus far has given it confidence for its next step.
“Obviously it feels good. Beating Bo Manor [in the Section I Final] was such an emotional win that it seemed like that was the hurdle that we had to get over. I hate to say it, but there’s almost a feeling of expectation,” Panthers coach Dave Ruark said. “I feel like it’s something that we’re destined to do. It feels amazing just for the girls.”
Perryville senior Carly White, right, slides in safe at home on an inside-the-park grand slam during the Panthers’ 8-3 victory over visiting McDonough in the 1A North Region Final on Friday.