Facing an 8-0 deficit in the first game of a Class 5A Region II Semifinal series, it would have been easy for the Lufkin Lady Panthers to simply regroup and prepare for the next game. The Lady Panthers weren’t that patient as they used a nine-run sixth inning to come from behind for an improbable 12-8 win over the North Forney Falcons.
With an 8-0 deficit, Lufkin got back in the game by scoring three runs in the fourth inning before breaking out the bats in the decisive six-run sixth inning. Leah Akridge got the Lady Panthers back on the board with an RBI double.
Then after Lufkin scored another run on a wild pitch, Jasmine Ibarra delivered a two-run double to narrow the gap to 8-7. Sarah Mayes knotted the game with an RBI single and Julie Armes gave Lufkin its first lead of the game at 10-8 on a two-run single.
Akridge then delivered her second hit of the inning, this time on a two-run single that made the score 12-8. That effort would have not been possible if not for the effort of Smiley Radke, who entered the game in relief after Lufkin’s usually reliable starter Alex Flores was knocked out of the game.
She got the win in the pitching circle by pitching the final 3 2/3 innings of a game, allowing no runs. North Forney plated five runs in the first inning then added three more in the fourth inning. Lufkin finally began to peck away at the margin with Reagan Jordan delivering an RBI double and Reagan Jordan hitting a two-run double to narrow the gap to 8-3.
The game stayed at a five-run deficit until Lufkin’s late-game heroics. The series will resume tonight with a 7:30 p.m. game in Van. A third game, if necessary, would be played on Saturday afternoon at 4, also at Van High School.