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Panthers 2-2 In Districts; Qualify For State On Wildcard

FC/E-M 8, Aurora 0

The Panthers got back to their winning ways on Monday, October 4, with an 8-0 five-inning victory at Aurora. FC/E-M got on the board in the second as Macy Jones laced a one-out single, stole second and was able score on an Aurora error. The big offensive damage came the very next inning, as the Panthers were able to plate six runs. Audrey Malone, Lindsay Eichelberger, Jones, Mariah Bigelow and Tasha Manthei all had hits, with Bigelow and Jones both driving in two runs. Eichelberger threw the complete game shutout.

“A solid win for us and it was good to see the girls fight back after a disappointing defeat in the conference final," Panther coach Steve Adkisson said.

FC/E-M 7, Southern 0

The Panthers got their post season started in a positive way on Thursday, October 7, with a 7-0 victory to begin C-4 District play. Malone and Aubrey Adkisson both scored on Eichelberger’s RBI double in the first inning. The scoring continued in the third as Adkisson led off with a single and again scored on Eichelberger’s double. Bigelow, Jacki Kleinschmidt, and Elly Korbelik added RBIs in the inning. The final run came on a RBI double by Carley Yates to plate Manthei, who had singled.

“A solid win to start our post season play," Adkisson said. "The girls really settled in the second time they faced the Southern pitcher and had some great at bats."

Friend 4, FC/E-M 0

For the first time this season, the Panthers were held scoreless, but it was not like they did not have their chances. FC/E-M came out aggressive at the plate, as Adkisson and Eichelberger had back-to-back singles in the first. With two-out, Jones laced a single to left, but a solid defense play by the Bulldogs threw Adkisson out at the plate.

“You have to give Friend credit for making a solid defensive play," Adkisson said.

The Panthers had another chance to rattle Friend's ace in the fourth inning but could not come up with the key hit when it was needed.

“We kept battling against a very tough pitcher, but we made too many defensive mistakes as well," Adkisson said.

FC/E-M 12, Fairbury 0

Next up on Friday in Fairbury, the Panthers were able to get right back to their winning ways with an impressive 12-0 win over the Lady Jeffs. Malone led the game off with a single and was driven home on Eichelberger’s RBI ground out.

The third inning again provided the Panthers with all the offense they needed as they sent a dozen batters to the plate. Adkisson, Eichelberger, Kelsey Yates, Jones, Kleinschmidt, Korbelik, Logan Zeleny and Manthei all were in the hit parade.

“What an explosive inning for us," Adkisson said. "All the girls were very disciplined and Kelsey had a great game with her two doubles.”

The final run for the Panthers came behind a pair of solid singles by Meredith Emshoff and Manthei.

“I was really proud in how our reserves came off the bench and contributed to this win," Adkisson said. "They don't get a lot of time to get ready to hit, but when called upon they were ready.”

Friend 2, FC/E-M 0

In its second game of the day with the defending Class C State Champions and their NCAA Division I recruit Krista Menke, FC/E-M again failed to score a run.

“This was a game in which we played a lot better defense, but again were unable to drive in any runs," Adkisson said. "I thought we ran out of energy the last few innings.”

Eichelberger recorded the only hit in the loss for the 27-3 Panthers, who advanced to the Class C State Softball Tournament in Hastings via a wildcard.

“We have enjoyed a tremendous amount of success over the years and I have been blessed to coach a lot of good players and teams," Adkisson said. "This team has gotten as much out of their talent as any and have been a joy to coach. All of the communities should be very proud of them and what they represent. I am very excited to see how we stack up at the state tournament."