HASTINGS – Things got off on a positive note for the Fillmore Central/Exeter-Milligan/Friend Panthers softball team Wednesday afternoon at the Class C, District 4 tournament at the Bill Smith Softball Complex in Hastings.
The Panthers blasted the Twin River Titans, 17-9, in the opening game and rattled off 22 hits while doing so. But things changed after that.
FC/EM/F played strong softball and was in both of its next two games until the final innings, but wound up losing both to Central City and Centura-Central Valley, the latter of which was an elimination game.
The Panthers end their season 9-23
FC/EM/F 17, Twin River 9
The Panthers got their tournament started by racking up 22 hits in the win over the Titans. Jackie Schelkopf led the offense with five hits while four others – Kayla Geiger, Claire Kimbrough, Caitlin Murphy and Caitlin Sharkey – all had three.
Kelsi Gaston smashed a home run to left field in the third inning that gave her team a 4-2 lead. Gaston, as well as Jacy Schlueter, finished the game with three RBIs. Geiger, Schelkopf, Kimbrough and Sharkey all had two.
Schlueter pitched all seven innings for FC/EM/F and struck out seven batters with only one walk. She gave up 13 hits and nine earned runs.
FC/EM/F: 3 0 1 4 0 5 4 – 17
Twin River: 2 0 4 0 0 0 3 – 9
Central City 20, FC/EM/F 6
FC/EM/F was three outs away from beating Central City. The Panthers led 5-4 at the end of the sixth, but things quickly fell apart in the top of the seventh – and in a big way.
Central City exploded for 16 runs in the seventh. When the avalanche of runs finally ended, the Bison walked away with a 20-6 win.
Gaston had the hot bat in the game, going 3 for 4 at the plate with three RBIs. Sharkey and Schlueter each had two hits in the loss while Schlueter and Georgia Meyer both chipped in with one RBI.
Both teams committed four errors in the loss. Central City outhit FC/EM/F 13-11.
Central City: 0 0 3 0 1 0 16 – 20
FC/EM/F: 0 0 0 1 0 4 1 – 6
Centura-Central Valley 4, FC/EM/F 3
In an elimination game, CCV gained a 4-0 lead after two innings, but FC/EM/F slowly chipped away at its deficit. Schelkopf smacked a lead-off home run in the top of the fourth while Kimbrough later scored off an error to put the CCV advantage at only 4-2.
The Panthers continued to fight late in the game with their season on the line. In the sixth, Gaston hit a sacrifice grounder to short that allowed Geiger to score and cut their deficit to 4-3. But that was all the scoring FC/EM/F’s rally produced, as the Panthers went scoreless in the seventh to seal the season-ending loss.
CCV outhit FC/EM/F 7-4 in the game. Schlueter struck out six in the circle for the Panthers and gave up seven hits and four earned runs.
FC/EM/F: 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 – 3
CCV: 2 2 0 0 0 0 – 4