Carla Harris Special Correspondent
The Latta Lady Panthers used two consecutive errors to score the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh to edge Savanna 2-1 Monday night at Swanson Field.
Latta, ranked No. 4 in Class 2A, improved to 19-4 on the year while No. 2 Savanna slipped to 18-4 and saw an 11-game winning streak come to a halt. Latta was defeated by Savanna 6-2 in the finals of the Byng-Konawa Back to School Classic in August.
“This is a very good win for us. We needed redemption after losing to them in the finals of the tournament at the beginning of the season,” said Latta head coach Jim Foster.
Winning pitcher Maria Priest allowed five hits and struck out nine to earn the mound victory for Latta. Bryn Houlton, a University of Kansas signee, gave up seven hits and had seven strikeouts in the loss for Savanna. The Lady Dogs committed a costly six errors in the game.
Savanna threatened to score in the top of the second as they had runners at second and third with only one out. Priest struck out the side to end that threat.
Latta got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second. Priest led off the inning with a single up the middle. Jordyn Scott reached on an error and Priest went to third. Matison Worcester laid down a bunt and Savanna chose to try and get the runner at home. Priest slid in safe as the catcher missed the ball to put the Lady Panthers ahead 1-0.
Savanna came back in the fourth to tie the game. Jordin Wilson led off with a single to center. Houlton followed up with another single. Rosie Martinez was then walked to load the bases with no outs. Latta recorded the first out of the inning on a pop up to Priest. Tannah Heddlestar then had an infield single to score Wilson. With bases still loaded, Hailey Wilson hit a ball back to Priest who fired to home for the force out. Priest then struck out the nine hole hitter to end the inning with the score even at 1-1.
The Lady Panthers threatened again in the bottom of the fourth as Priest, Scott, and Worcester all singled to load the bases. This time it was Houlton who struck out the side to end the threat.
Savanna had a runner at third again in the fifth inning, but could not plate a run.
In the bottom of the fifth, Madison Abney recorded a two-out single down the right field line. Priest then reached on an error, and MadisonAbney made it to third. A nice play by the Savanna shortstop ended the inning without a score.
Latta stranded runners again in the sixth as Maebree Abney singled to lead off the inning and advanced all the way to third after a Savanna error. Once again the Lady Panthers were unable to capitalize.
Priest did not allow a base runner in the sixth or seventh inning.
In the bottom of the seventh Savanna committed two crucial errors that ended the game. Chelsea Alexander singled to start the inning. Madison Abney then tried to lay down a bunt. The bunt was popped up in the air and dropped by Houlton. Madison Abney was safe at first, and the Savanna catcher threw to second trying to get Alexander. The ball sailed into deep centerfield, and Alexander scored to give Latta the 2-1 victory.
Latta had five batters with one hit apiece, and Priest tallied two hits including her double in the fourth.
The Lady Panthers will be in action again on Thursday as they travel to Byng. Then they will head to Dale on Friday for a showdown with the No. 1 ranked Lady Pirates..
Latta 2, Savanna 1
SAVANNA 000 100 0 — 1 5 6
LATTA 010 000 1 — 2 7 1
Bryn Houlton and Jordin Wilson. Maria Priest and Maebree Abney. WP-Priest. LP-Houlton. 2B-Priest (L). HL-Jordin Wilson 1-3, RS; Houlton 1-3; Jessie Wright 1-3; Tannah Heddlestar 1-3, RBI; Hailey Wilson 1-3 (S). Chelsea Alexander 1-4, RS; Madison Abney 1-4; Priest 2-3, RS; Jordyn Scott 1-3; Maebree Abney 1-3; Matison Worcester 1-3 (L).