In one of the best pitching duels and defensive battles of the season, the Alba-Golden Lady Panthers squeaked by Quitman’s Lady Bulldogs 3-2 in District 12-3A play Friday night. The score stood at 1-0 with Alba-Golden leading after five complete innings.
Quitman came back and scored two runs in the top of the sixth inning to take a cautious 2-1 lead over the Lady Panthers. Not, to be denied, the Lady Panthers staged a two out rally with three straight base hits scoring two runs with Lady Panther senior Gracie Pendergrass scoring what would be the winning score in the bottom of the sixth inning. Quitman would go down three up three down in the top of the seventh inning to end their fine effort for an upset of the playoff bound Lady Panthers.
Lady Panther pitcher Morgan Curts tossed into the sixth inning and was replaced by Braily Littlejohn who shut down the Lady Bulldogs in relief. Quitman freshman Shelby Hayes was superb holding the Lady Panthers to just one hit until the three hit sixth inning. Both teams made outstanding defensive plays throughout the game. Pendergrass had three tough plays at shortstop each resulting in a Quitman out. Quitman centerfielder Madalyn Spears made a pair of running catches in center field while Hayes made a play at the plate after an Alba-Golden runner had got caught in a run down by Quitman catcher Shayla Smith.
Alba-Golden ended the night with five hits while Quitman was able to get three hits, one from Smith and two from Hannah Hardy, a double, a single and two runs scored.
“We got great pitching from Shelby Hayes and great defense behind her. We never got the bats to wake up. We had opportunities in the game, but just couldn’t get the hit when we needed it,” Quitman Coach Chris Veach noted. “We didn’t appear focused at the plate all night, watching too many good pitches cross the plate. Alba-Golden is a really good team and we had the opportunity to steal one from them. I’m proud of our defensive effort and the pitching in this game.”
Quitman is at home against Eustace Tuesday and on the road at Mineola Friday. Game times are at 6 p.m.