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Panthers reaping benefits of tough slate

Verbena brought the game-tying run to the plate in the seventh inning Thursday, but the Jemison softball team held on for a 9-7 win, its third this week.

The Panthers sport an unimpressive 6-17 record, but coach Leighsa Robinson’s team is built for the end of the season, not the beginning, as many of those losses came against teams that are ranked and/or compete in a higher classification.

“We do that to help us come tournament time,” Robinson said about the decision to go heavy on the tough competition when making out her team’s schedule.

The strategy could be paying off. Jemison displayed resiliency in Thursday’s win.

Verbena scored two runs in the top of the third inning, but Jemison answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Verbena took the lead again with one run to begin the fourth inning, but Jemison tied it.

The hosts plated two runs in the fifth and four in the sixth, and the Red Devils (4-8) couldn’t make up the difference despite four runs in the seventh inning.

Every Red Devil in the starting lineup had a hit, and the visitors totaled 12 hits. Connie Dale went 3-for-3 at the plate, and Haley Kelley finished 2-for-3.

For Jemison, Tabatha Cork went 2-for-4 with a double and one run scored, and Karli Wright finished 1-for-2 with a double, a walk and one run scored.

Brandi Baker relieved Tiffany Guin in the third inning and became the winning pitcher.