The Cowgirls withstood a furious comeback by the Black Panthers to win their Jhawk Softball League game, 11-10, July 14 at Youth Sports Inc.
Both teams put together big innings in the game, which featured strong defense, lots of hitting and a boisterous group of supporters on both sides.
The Cowgirls offense got on track in the top of the first inning, with Audrey Hughes, Kajsa Mullenix and Bailey Schaumburg scoring runs.
The Panthers responded quickly in the bottom of the frame. Jesse Dowell got things started with a double to left field.
Cindy Dunham followed with a single to move Dowell over to third and Lyndsay Shreve brought Dowell home with a single. Taylor Pope then singled to drive in Dunham.
The Cowgirls got a break when first base Leah Whitson caught a popup, then stepped on the bag to double off Pope and end the inning.
The Cowgirls continued to pour it on in their half of the second inning. Shasta Conrad singled and scored a run. Hughes and Sierra Brown also drove in runs.
Schaumburg capped things off with a bases-loaded single to drive in two runs and reach the five run-per-inning limit.
The Cowgirls came back with a strong defensive effort in the bottom of the second to hold the Panthers scoreless in the bottom of the frame.
Third baseman Hannah Moore caught a fly ball, and pitcher Hughes then fielded a ground ball and fired to first base for the out.
Then, with two on base, second base Kim Carter scooped up a ground ball and threw to Conrad at first base for the final out of the inning.
The Panthers held the Cowgirls scoreless in the top of the third inning as Whitson struck out the side, with help from Cowgirls coach David Heller, who came in to finish pitching to the hitters after four balls, in accordance with league rules.
The Panthers stayed within striking distance with a strong defensive performance in the top of the fourth inning. Dowell, Dunham and Katie Meyer all recorded outs to hold the Cowgirls to two runs in the frame.
In the Panther half of the inning, the right-handed Pope went to the opposite field with one out, winding up on third with a triple. Whitson brought Pope home with a single.
But, the Cowgirls again put out the Panther rally with excellent defense. Moore fielded a ground ball off the bat of Kim Miller and tossed it to catcher Schaumburg for the third out.
The Panthers went into the bottom of the sixth and final inning, down 11-5. Despite the deficit, they came out swinging.
Pope, Whitson, Miller, Lacey Gooden and Dowell all got on base and the Panthers came up with five runs.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, the league's five run-per-inning rule took effect and their rally came up one run short.
After the game, Panther coach Don Meyer was unconcerned with the loss in which his team played so well.
"The girls had a great time and that's what it's all about," Meyer said.
Cowgirls coach Bob Hughes was happy to get the win, but stressed the importance of just having a good time.
"It's not all about winning," Hughes said. "It's about having fun and making a social statement."