Lackey softball loses to Patuxent
Panthers roll up 9 runs in road win over Chargers
The game was still young when Haylee McClanahan first stepped into the batter’s box at Lackey on Monday afternoon, but she still felt the pressure of the moment.
Her Patuxent Panthers had runners at the corners with two outs and she had the opportunity to step up to deliver a big hit. She did, hammering a double to left to chase home Kyle Sears and Hannah Ludke with the game’s first two runs. Patuxent eventually led 9-0 before ultimately claiming a 9-2 win in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference nondivision contest.
“I was kind of nervous to start out with, batting in a new spot,” said McClanahan, who moved from the cleanup spot to fifth in the order. “I was kind of nervous because I didn’t remember [Lackey pitcher Madison Furman] from last year, and it’s my senior year so I kind of want to carry the team and help out with my bat. I relaxed and held my hands softly and I hit the ball. That’s what I was told to do.”
While McClanhan’s double was one of three extra-base hits for the Panthers — Sears and Ludke both had doubles, as well — the team only had five hits in the game. But they exhibited plenty of patience at the plate, drawing nine walks. Patuxent (2-1 overall) was able to turn it into nine runs, and blew the game open with a six-run fifth inning.
Kelsey Sears’ single was the only Patuxent hit in the top of the fifth, but the Panthers also walked six times in the inning and were able to successfully put the ball in play to move the runners a couple other times.
It was plenty enough to build an insurmountable lead, but Patuxent head coach Jen Bruno is looking for her lineup to deliver a breakout performance.
“With the potential of our lineup ... we’re just not getting a hold of it yet consistently,” she said. “Every now and then we do, but we’re better than what we showed today. Defensively, [Lackey] was solid.”
Lackey (0-3) also hit the ball relatively well at times, but struggled to get the big hit it needed in the clutch.
In the second inning, the Chargers left runners on second and third. They left two runners on again in the third.
In the fifth, Amanda Marshall led off with a single, the first of three for the Chargers as they loaded the bases with no outs. The Panthers then retired the next two batters to inch closer to emerging unscathed again, but Maddie Kuhn singled to center to break up the shutout.
The Chargers scratched out one more run in the fifth, but left the bases loaded.
They left the bases loaded again in the sixth without bringing in any runs and then went down in order in the seventh. In all, Lackey left 10 on the bases, seven in scoring position.
“Even though we’re not truly a young team, we’re a young team,” Lackey head coach Jerry Barron said. “My pitcher is a freshman, my catcher that’s supposed to be there is a freshman. The girl who caught today [Alyson Roberts] just found out today that she was catching, and I thought she did a reasonable job behind the plate . ... It’s just a matter of the balls they hit finding holes.”
Lackey had nine hits, all singles, to almost double Patuxent’s total. But Patuxent’s Ludke did not walk a batter and was able to successfully navigate through the majority of the threats she faced.
The Chargers will look to get into the win column when they host Westlake at 4:30 p.m. today.
“When I went out there to talk to them [postgame] there weren’t too many ugly things for me to say,” Barron said. “I was happy with the fielding. They did very well. There are some things we need to work on. We need to work on the pitching and we need to work on the hitting.”
Next up for Patuxent is a scheduled trip to county rival Calvert at 4:30 p.m. today.
Winners of two of their first three, the Panthers are optimistic about what lies ahead.
“I think we definitely need to switch up a few things for Calvert, but we played our hardest,” Patuxent’s Kylie Sears said. “I really couldn’t ask for more from the team. If they played with all their effort, then I’m proud of them . ... I definitely think this team is a lot better than last year. I think we still have a lot to learn. It’s early in the season, but I’m very happy with how we’re starting off.”
“We just need to be a little more confident,” Bruno said. “We put a lot of pressure on ourselves individually that we don’t need to. We need to play the game and forget quickly. If you make a mistake move on, do the other half. I am very excited about them. We just need them to be a little more confident, get a little more comfortable with each other. I’m excited about the future.”
Lackey’s Haley Wood smiles as she goes to the bag for an out in the third inning of the Chargers’ game with the visiting Patuxent Panthers on Monday. Patuxent won 9-2.
Madison Furman started in the circle for Lackey in its softball game with the visiting Patuxent Panthers on Monday afternoon. Patuxent defeated Lackey 9-2.