The Paradise Lady Panthers staged a dramatic four-run comeback in their final at-bat Friday to knock off Peaster and force a play-in game for District 9-2A’s final playoff spot.
Paradise pitcher Reagan Taylor made sure Monday’s play-in game featured no-such drama.
Taylor held Peaster to two hits and came one out away from a six-inning shutout as the Lady Panthers throttled the Lady Greyhounds 11-1 in Brock to claim a postseason berth.
“This feels great. We’ve worked so hard for this,” Taylor said.
Paradise moves on to play District 10-2A champion Godley in a 2A Region II bi-district series. No date or site have been set up for the series.
Taylor split her previous two decisions against Peaster, allowing 16 runs – three earned – on 14 hits in 12 and two-thirds innings. Monday, she didn’t allow a runner past second until the sixth inning when Peaster’s Bailey McKinzie hit a soft single into left field with two outs to score Tyler Kennington from second base.
Taylor then struck out Hailee Rutledge for her fifth strikeout to end the game.
“I just knew I had to come back, get them and throw hard,” Taylor said about the effort. “Our defense has been working hard. I’m really thankful for them.”
Behind Taylor the Lady Panthers defense was flawless.
“Everyone made plays,” said Paradise coach Karin Essig. “[Reagan] also put the ball where she needed.”
The Lady Panthers gave Taylor plenty of margin for error, pounding out eight hits and drawing six walks off Peaster pitcher Morgan Robinson. The Peaster hurler also hit three batters.
“Everybody hit. They believe they can hit and play, and tonight they did,” Essig said.
Peaster also committed four errors. One in each of the first two innings led to Paradise runs. Shelby Lavigne doubled to right to score Taylor, who reached on an error in the top of the first.
Taylor helped her own cause, leading off the top of the third with a blast over the center-field fence. Along with her gem in the circle, Taylor went 2-for-4 with the homer, two RBIs and scored three runs.
After a hit by pitch, walk and RBI-single by Alyssa Munoz, Darla Walterscheid broke the game open with the Lady Panthers’ second homer of the third inning – a three-run shot to center field that put Paradise up 7-0.
Paradise went scoreless in the fourth and fifth before putting the game away with a four-run top of the sixth in which it sent 10 batters to the plate. Munoz provided the big shot with a bases-clearing, three-run triple to the left-field fence.
Munoz finished with four RBIs and joined Taylor, Lavigne and Walterscheid as Lady Panthers with multiple hits.