Panthers doomed by pool play losses

Caleb Turrentine / The Observer

Elmore County’s Madelyn Becker swings at a high pitch during the Panthers’ first game at Wetumpka’s tournament on Friday.

The Elmore County softball team was one of 20 teams to participate in the annual Wetumpka tournament over the weekend. The Panthers put themselves in a hole after losing both games in pool play before being eliminated from the tournament by a 12-2 loss to Prattville Christian.

Elmore County opened the weekend against Marbury on Friday afternoon. The Panthers got a two-run homer from Kelina Daniels along with two hits each from Ebone Pierson, Madelyn Becker and Madison Britt but it was not enough to erase a five-run second inning by Marbury as the Bulldogs pulled away with a 7-4 victory.

Things did not get any easier for the Panthers the next morning when they had to face Alabama Christian. Elmore County took the lead in the first inning with an RBI single from Daniels which scored Pierson.

However, that was the only run of the game for the Panthers as ACA ran away with a 7-1 victory behind six runs in the final two innings. Elmore County got only two more hits after the opening inning.

Because of the two losses in pool play, the Panthers were forced into one of the first round games in bracket play against Dadeville. With its tournament life on the line, Elmore County came out swinging and had its best offensive outing of the tournament, earning an 11-4 victory.

Becker got things started in the first inning with a double before scoring on a single from Daniels. Eleanor Watts, Maci Curlee, Pierson, Britt and Lela Hall each added at least one RBI with two outs in the first inning to give the Panthers a 9-0 lead before Dadeville came to the plate.

Curlee pitched the complete game in the circle, allowing five hits and just one earned run across three innings for her only victory of the tournament.

Elmore County (3-6) found itself tied with PCA in the second inning of the second round matchup after an RBI from Akerria Harden. However, the Lions scored 11 runs over the last two innings to win, on their way to winning the tournament championship.

Pierson led the Panthers with six hits across the team’s four tournament games. Daniels hit the team’s only home run and led Elmore County with four RBIs.