GENEVA – The Fillmore Central/Exeter-Milligan/Friend Panthers softball team took an early lead with a first-inning run and was set up to do more damage in the second, but the possible scoring rally was squelched by a double play.
The Adams Central Patriots picked up the tying run in the second and tacked on two more in the third for a 3-1 lead and eventually pulled away for an 11-3 five-inning win in Monday night prep softball action in Geneva.
FC/EM/F head coach Aaron Lauby said that his team failed to seize the momentum when they had the chance.
“Good teams are good not because they don’t make mistakes but because they are able to overcome the mistakes that they make. We had our chances every inning to score, and we had momentum early after a great first inning, but a few too many mistakes allowed Adams Central to seize back momentum and put the pressure back on us,” said Lauby, whose team fell to 7-20 on the year with one regular season game left on the schedule. “We have shown that we can play well enough to compete with really good teams. However, it isn’t about how well you can play; it’s about how long you can play well.”
Adams Central (16-8) led 3-1 when it came to bat in the top of the fourth. Two singles and a bunt single accounted for one run and a run-scoring double off the bat of Maggie Buhr made it 5-1. Buhr went 3 for 4 with a double and drove in two runs. Adams Central added two more runs and led 7-1.
The Panthers tried to get back in the game in the bottom of the fourth as Kelsi Gaston and Jacy Schlueter led off the inning with singles, and after a strikeout Caitlin Murphy singled to load the bases.
A base-on-balls with the bases loaded to Georgia Meyer made it 7-2, and a second consecutive bases loaded walk to Shelby Lawver made it 7-3.
Still with only one out and the sacks full, the Panthers could not push another run across as they left the bases loaded.
With two out in the top of the fifth the Patriots led 9-3 and scored two more runs to open the margin to 11-3.
In the bottom of the fifth, Adams Central starting pitcher Jersie Frerichs set the Panthers down in order for the win. Frerichs tossed 77 pitches, issued two walks, had three strikeouts and gave up three runs, all earned.
The Patriots’ 14-hit attack was led by Teagan Abbott, who was 4 for 4 with a double and one RBI while Frerichs was 2 for 3.
The loss went to Schlueter, who allowed 11 runs, with seven of them earned. The senior also recorded one strikeout and did not walk anyone. Schlueter and Caitlin Murphy each had two hits in the loss.
The Panthers will open the Southern Nebraska Conference tournament on Saturday at Fairbury as the No. 6 seed and will take on the No. 3 seed Centennial Broncos at 10 a.m. The winner of that game gets Milford in a noon start.