Softball: Trouble in Paradise – Eastland knocks Lady Panthers out of playoffs

By Reece Waddell | Published Wednesday, May 2, 2018
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Out at the Plate

OUT AT THE PLATE – Paradise pitcher Kendall Candioto (7) tags an Eastland runner trying to steal home. Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt

Brynna Foster proved to be too much for the Paradise Lady Panthers in the 3A Region I bi-district round.

Eastland’s ace followed up her complete-game shutout in Game 1 with another in Game 2, slamming the door on Paradise’s season in a 6-0 victory Saturday at Graham.

SEASON’S END – Paradise players react after losing 6-0 to Eastland Saturday. The loss ended the Lady Panthers’ season. Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt

Foster allowed just three hits and struck out 11 over seven innings.

“She’s a good pitcher,” said Paradise coach Karin Essig. “She did well [Friday] and today. We struggled with it. When we got deep in the count, she got us out.

“We had lot of baserunners, we just couldn’t come up with the hit we needed to get them in. We just couldn’t get a run across.”

The Lady Panthers had a chance to jump on Foster early, putting runners at second and third with one out in the first inning. Foster worked around the danger by striking out Christina Tipton and Kaycee Martin to retire the side.

Paradise threatened again in the top of the fourth, loading the bases with one out. Foster got Tori Green to pop out and Eastland doubled Tipton off at third to get out of the jam.

“[Tipton] was just too far off [third],” Essig said. “The shortstop caught it right beside the bag. She tried to get back. She dove. She froze on the line and just couldn’t get back.”

The Lady Panthers turned to Kendall Candioto in the circle, but her day was cut short after just one and one-thirds innings. Candioto danced around a bases-loaded jam in the first inning before the Lady Mavs got to her in the second.

Eastland plated its first run of the game on a softly hit RBI-single and followed it up with a two-run double that chased Candioto from the game.

“I didn’t have my best game yesterday, and I guess that was probably in my head,” Candioto said. “That kind of carried over to today, too. They’re a good hitting team.”

Kailey Thomas finished the game, scattering three runs on five hits over four and two-thirds innings. She struck out four and walked four.

Thomas ran into her only trouble in the third inning. The Lady Mavs doubled their advantage to 6-0 after a run-scoring single and double.

“She did great. I’m proud of her,” Essig said. “She’s a good, hard-working kid.”

Paradise ended its season at 18-11 overall. The Lady Panthers took third place in District 8-3A after winning a three-way tiebreaker to get into the playoffs. Paradise started district play 6-1 and went 2-6 to end the regular season.

The Lady Panthers beat Boyd and Bowie to clinch a spot in the postseason after narrowly missing out last year.

“We got off to such a good start, and then things didn’t go [our] way,” Essig said. “It took a lot of resiliency to come back and fight back to get into the playoffs.”

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