By Chad Dixon
The Smiths Station Lady Panthers (14-5) went unbeaten last weekend in the Wetumpka Invitational in large part to Anderson University signee senior Sydney Belcher. She hit .353 last week with seven RBI. In their tournament opener against Marbury High on March 9, she hit a two-run home run to tie the game at two. She would give Smiths Station a 6-5 win in the bottom of the eighth with a walk-off double to score Olivia Sinquefield.
Belcher was 2-for-3 with three RBI; Sinquefield was 3-for-4, scored three times, doubled and drove in a run. Paige Downing struck out nine over 6 2/3rd innings, allowed one earned run on nine hits. Teena Morgan picked up the win with an inning and a third of relief. She allowed no runs on no hits, walked one and struck out one.
Smiths Station pounded Chilton County 9-0 in their second game on Friday night. Lexi Webb, Tori Craft and Sinquefield had two hits each. The Lady Panthers scored three in the bottom of the first. Webb walked on four pitches to start the inning. Alexis Cosgrove and Sinquefield had back-to-back singles to load the bases. Cassidy Culpepper hit a two-run single to right to give Smiths Station a 2-0 lead. Claire Garney then hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Belcher in the next at bat.
Karissa Schnitz hit a two-run double in the bottom of the third to extend the lead to 6-0. She scored on a Webb RBI single to center in the next at bat. Teena Morgan pitched three innings, allowed no runs on two hits and struck out a batter. Making her varsity debut, Hailey Thomason pitched a one-two-three top of the fourth.
In their first game on Saturday, Smiths Station defeated Dadeville 6-4. Bre Cameron picked up the win. She pitched three innings, scored no runs on one hit and struck out a pair. Cosgrove and Sinquefield were 1-for-3 three with two RBI each. Schnitz was 2-for-2; Belcher and Cosgrove doubled.
The Lady Panthers defeated Saraland 4-2 in their second game on Saturday. They scored four runs in the top of the third to take the lead. Kristen Schwarting hit a two-out double to start the rally. Webb singled to score Schwarting. Webb scored on a Cosgrove triple. Sinquefield then doubled to score the third Smiths Station run. Belcher scored the fourth run of the inning with a double to left.
Smiths Station defeated Enterprise 5-3 in their final game of the weekend. Schnitz and Schwarting hit a pair of back-to-back RBI groundouts in the top of the second to take a 2-0 lead. Webb hit a RBI single to center in the top of the fourth to extend the lead to three. Downing added an RBI single in the fifth to give the Lady Panthers a 5-0 lead. Enterprise would score three runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Downing picked up the win in a rain shortened game. She pitched five innings, allowed three unearned runs on two hits and struck out five. Smiths Station lost a coin-flip after the game to officially place second in the tournament. The Lady Panthers will travel to play Holtville on March 15. They will host Auburn in an area game on March 20 at 6pm ET.