Lady Panthers force deciding third game

Needing a win to keep their season alive, the Lufkin Lady Panthers answered in emphatic fashion as they struck early and often in rolling to a 7-1 win over the Rockwall Lady Jackets in the second game of a Class 6A Region III Bi-District playoff series in Athens
Friday night.
With the win, Lufkin forces a third and deciding game, which will be played at Madisonville High School on Saturday afternoon at 2.
A total team effort guaranteed a third game would be necessary as Smiley Radke was strong in the pitching circle for the Lady Panthers. She pitched the complete game, giving up a single earned run on three hits, fanning eight and walking three.
Radke got more than enough backup from her offense as the Lady Panthers were able to break through against Rockwall’s Hannah Frank, who had gotten the win a day earlier.
On Friday night, she allowed seven runs, six earned, on 10 hits with two strikeouts and five walks.
Leah Akridge led the way for Lufkin with four singles and an RBI. Cailee Hendrick added two singles and two RBI and Jasmine Ibara had a double and an RBI. Julie Armes, Sara Mayes and Tatum Liles added a single each.
The Lady Panthers set the tone for the game early on as Cailee Hendrick came through with a clutch two-out RBI single to score Julie Armes with the game’s first run.
The Lady Pack broke the game open with a four-run second inning. Akridge got the Lady Pack back on the board with an RBI single that made it 2-0.
With runners on the corners, Armes stole second and Akridge came around to score when the throw got away, making it 3-0.
Jasmine Ibarra then delivered an RBI double that went to the wall in left field, scoring Armes with the game’s fourth run.
Hendrick capped off the four-run inning with an RBI single to center, making it 5-0.
The Lady Panthers tacked on another run in the fourth inning when Hendrick hit a grounder. When Rockwall dropped the ball at first, Armes was able to sprint around from second to score, making it 6-0.
Lufkin extended that lead to 7-0 on a wild pitch in the fifth inning.
Rockwall finally got on the board in the sixth inning when Paige Harris’ RBI single scored Erica Spears, making it 7-1.
Lufkin will take on Rockwall on Saturday at 2 with the winner advancing to the area round of the playoffs.
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