The Palmyra softball team was clicking in all phases Monday night during a 6-3 win over Hannibal at Flower City Park.
Lauren Van Tress has endured bumps and bruises this season alongside her cohorts on the Palmyra softball team.
Van Tress has been struck by multiple line drives, including Sept. 14 at the Capital City Invite, forcing the pitcher to miss time as Palmyra navigated through the challenges of a tough schedule.
The Lady Panthers started the year 4-1 but hit rock bottom with a seven-game losing streak that could have rattled them to the core.
Instead their ups and downs serve as motivation.
“We're hoping that all the battling we've done will pay off in the long run,” Palmyra coach Jill Arch said.
All was well for Palmyra during a 6-3 win over Hannibal on Monday night at Flower City Park in the final game of the regular season.
Van Tress took a no-hitter into the fourth inning and struck out eight over a complete game victory. The senior also drove in three runs offensively with a double in the third.
“We've been in a slump and I know I've been in a slump, so to come out and beat Hannibal feels good — especially going into districts,” Van Tress said.
Bailey Lovelace singled home Megan Stone to catalyze Palmyra's rally in the third, when it brought eight batters to the plate.
Van Tress' double with two outs made it 4-0 in favor of the Lady Panthers.
“We're seeing the ball and hitting the ball,” Arch said. “It's just getting up to the plate and relaxing and doing what you're supposed to do.”
Taylor Wilson delivered an RBI double that scored Adrya Nichelson to put Hannibal on the board in the fourth, cutting its deficit to three runs.
Lovelace connected for an RBI double for Palmyra in the fifth, and Sophie Ragar lifted a sacrifice fly to plate the Lady Panthers' final tally. Palmyra finished with 10 hits for the game.
Wilson drove in two Lady Pirates with a single in the sixth to establish the final margin. Hannibal was caught stealing and struck out to end the threat.
Van Tress retired Hannibal in order in the seventh.
“Tonight we had the mentality and spirit but we just weren't able to capitalize,” Hannibal coach Andrew Pollard said. “Palmyra has notoriously been a good team. We knew that and that we would have to play our best.”
Wilson took the loss for Hannibal after pitching six innings and allowing four earned runs on eight hits. Kylie McAfee entered in relief and surrendered a pair of earned runs in the fifth before Wilson tossed the final two frames.
The Lady Pirates committed one error in the loss, and it didn't lead to any runs. Pollard noted his strong defense was encouraging.
“Our past four games we had 16 total errors, but tonight we only had one and it wasn't costly,” Pollard said. “That was a big thing we've been focusing on.”
The Pink Out game was played in Palmyra with Hannibal as the official home team. The contest was originally scheduled to be played in Hannibal but was moved due to field conditions.
Hannibal (8-10) is scheduled to open the Class 3 District 7 Tournament on Thursday night against Winfield at Veterans Sports Complex. The Lady Pirates are the No. 2 seed.
“These past 18 games, they don't mean anything anymore,” Pollard said. “The girls are taking that to heart. We have some work to do but I think we will come out hot against Winfield.”
Palmyra (10-13) is slated to host South Shelby on Wednesday in the first round of the Class 2 District 6 Tournament. The Lady Panthers are seeded third.
“This reminds me of my sophomore year,” said Van Tress, comparing this year to 2016. “We had one of the worst records and we came in and went all the way to the district championship even when nobody thought that would happen.
“This could pretty much be a repeat of that.”