Fillmore Central/Exeter-Milligan began its 2011 campaign with play in the York Softball Tournament on Saturday. The Panthers went 2-1 in York to eventually capture the tournament title.
FC/E-M is in action this week with games against Fairbury (Tuesday) and High Plains (Thursday). The 2-1 Panthers will host the four-team FC Softball Tournament this Saturday in Geneva.
York 9, FC/E-M 1
The host team jumped on the Panthers for two unearned runs in the first and FC/E-M never was able to recover. FC/E-M cut the lead to one in the fourth.
Kelsey Yates singled to start the inning, was sacrificed to second by Meredith Emshoff and scored on a two-out double by Lauren Hopken. But sloppy defense and aggressive base running by the Dukes, allowed them to build on the lead the next two innings.
“ We started the game being very tentative in the field and it showed,” Panther coach Steve Adkisson said. “As a coach, I did a poor job of having us ready to open the season. I also thought we swung at too many bad pitches at the plate.”
Macy Jones was tagged for the loss for the Panthers. Hopken garnered the only extra-base hit for FC/E-M.
FC/E-M 5, O’Neill 1
FC/E-M got the bats going in the second game. Panther Logan Zeleny got the inning off to a good start with a lead-off triple to right-center field—she was able to score on a throwing error on the play.
With two outs in the inning, Elly Korbelik hit a towering shot over the left fielder for the second triple of the inning. Lauren Hopken then followed with an RBI single and the Panthers were on their way to their first victory of the year.
The local crew added insurance runs in both the fourth and sixth innings. In the fourth, Kelsey Yates singled to left, was sacrificed to second by Tasha Manthei and Korbelik singled to score courtesy runner Alicia Bigelow.
FC/E-M added two more runs in the sixth. Yates and Korbelik (3-for-3 in the contest) both singled in the inning, and Maitlyn Thomsen scored as well.
Macy Jones and Morgan Olson combined for a four-hitter and the Panther defense made some solid plays to back up their pitchers.
“Logan Zeleny and Elly Korbelik did a great job of getting us going at the plate,” Adkisson said. “They are both solid hitters that will continue to get better as they become more patient. Macy Jones really pitched well in her second start. Her strike out numbers will not be real high, but when she hits her spots and changes speed she is very effective.
“I thought our infield looked a lot more relaxed, but was still aggressive to the ball. Aubrey Adkisson made two outstanding plays at shortstop and Elly Korbelik was more aggressive at third to balls hit to her left. Overall, a great win after a very disappointing effort in game one.”
Jones picked up the win on the hill. Yates was 2-for-3 at the dish and Korbelik and Zeleny both pounded out triples for the Panthers. O’Neill plated its lone run in the seventh inning.
FC/E-M – 2 Crete 1
FC/E-M saw themselves in their first nail bitter of the season in its last game in York on Saturday.
In a game that ended up determining the tournament champion, the Panthers got another great effort in the circle from Macy Jones. The junior ace was also backed by solid defense. Timely hitting helped propel FC/E-M to the victory and the tournament championship.
The Panthers got on the board right away in the first as Shelby Schelkopf beat out an infield single, was sacrificed to second by Kelsey Yates, moved to third on Aubrey Adkisson’s double and scored on Logan Zeleny’s RBI ground out.
“Shelby used her speed and smart base running to get us on the board in the first,” Adkisson said.
The Panthers turned in some solid defense lead by second basemen Meredith Emshoff. FC/E-M added what turned out to be the winning run in the sixth. Aubrey Adkisson drew a two-out walk, moved to second on Logan Zeleny’s single, and then scored on Macy Jones double.
“This ended up being a great sequence for us and shows that these girls will not quit just because there were two outs,” Adkisson said.
FC/E-M shortstop Aubrey Adkisson turned in a great defensive play in the seventh to keep the Cardinals’ lead-off runner from getting on.
“Aubrey’s play ended up being big to start the seventh, as they added a single later in the inning,” Adkisson said.
Jones picked up her second win of the season with the complete-game, four-hit effort.
“What a great day for Panther softball,” said Adkisson. “We started out looking like we were scared to death and ended the day looking like the team we all expected to see. Macy Jones did a great job in the circle all day. Elly Korbelik had a great day at the plate and in the field became much more aggressive and comfortable on defense. Our seniors, Kelsey Yates and Juli Capek, showed great leadership in not allowing the team to feel sorry for themselves, but rather step up and get better.”