By Shannon Fagan, WEIS Sports Director
OXFORD – Things started well enough for the Spring Garden Lady Panthers in their Class 1A state softball tournament opener against second-ranked Leroy on Tuesday at Oxford’s Choccolocco Park. They scored a pair of runs in the top of the first inning and three more in the top of the second to take a four-run advantage, but the Lady Bears rallied with a four-run seventh to take a 7-6 victory.
Spring Garden’s loss dropped the Lady Panthers to the losers bracket against Verbena.
Helena Ingram led No. 10 Spring Garden by going 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Avery Steward, Maggie Reedy and Madi Ham each had a pair of hits. Kayley Kirk had a two-run double and an intentional walk. Layla Ingram finished with a hit.
Gracie Mitchell and Mariah Barnes both delivered a pair of hits for the Lady Bears. Mitchell also walked twice.
Hannah Howard, Campbell Newell, Abbey Davidson and Brookelyn Keith each contributed a hit. Howard delivered a two-run double in the bottom of the sixth and Davidson gave the Lady Bears the lead with a two-run single down the left field line for the tying and go-ahead runs.
Kayley Weaver was intentionally walked four times.
Steward suffered the loss for the Lady Panthers after going the distance with four strikeouts. McKenzie Smith earned the win for Leroy in relief of Kaylee Guy. Smith worked six innings and had a pair of strikeouts.