Lady Patriots battle for PBC tournament bid


The FMU softball team has accumalated 197 runs in 44 games played this

Brandon Rybak, Sports Writer

With the final spot in the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Championship up for grabs, the Lady Patriots battled the early morning drizzle in a doubleheader against their conference rivals the Lander Bearcats on Saturday, April 18.

A pair of wins is exactly what the doctor ordered for the lady Patriots, and a pair of wins is exactly what they got. The lady Pats however didn’t win in the most conventional way. The softball game against Lander took place on FMU’s senior day.

In game one of the doubleheader Katie Carnes, one of the seniors honored before the start of the game, put on a show for the stadium’s record crowd on her way to pitching a complete game, only giving up one run and surrendering only three hits. She left seven batters standing at the plate as she finished the game with seven strikeouts.

Lander pitcher Amanda Chastain was pulled after two and two thirds innings after surrendering three runs on just four hits. The light did shine on the Bearcats temporarily as freshmen Casey Wooten was the only Lander player to cross the plate, and it was late in the fifth.

The Bearcats’ run would turn out to matter very little because in the bottom of the fifth inning, first basemen Shannan Lopez smacked a two run double to the wall and forced the Bearcats to wave the white flag. The mercy rule was called to give the lady Patriots the 9-1 victory.

Game two was very similar to the first, and it seemed as if FMU was going to hit the showers early as they led 5-0 after only three innings. Lander was their own worst enemy by tallying three walks and making two errors in the first inning, which gave the Patriots a three run cushion in the first inning.

The woes continued for the Bearcats in the third inning after a batter was hit, and a Patriot was hit by a pitch while the bases were loaded the lead was increased to five.

Lander, however, would fight back, and after the sixth inning, the Bearcats reduced the lead to 5-3. After FMU outfielder Tori Gaskins couldn’t make the long throw home in the seventh to tag the tying run at the plate, the game continued into extra innings.

Carnes took over in the eighth for FMU pitcher Kaitlin Munda, and she would add to her impressive game one resume. She sat down nine out of the ten batters she faced and wouldn’t give up a single run in extras.

After fellow sophomore, Briana Barzola, was put in scoring position, Mikala Barnhart took notes from game one and slapped a single to left field. After a huge collision at the plate, Barzola scratched and clawed her way to the plate crediting Barnhart with the walk off single in dramatic fashion.

Lander finished their season at 12-28 with only six conference wins.