Lady Panther softball finishes best season in decades
The Van Alstyne Lady Panther softball team wrapped up its most successful season in over two decades. Only one team ends the season without a loss, and for the Lady Panthers, they were eliminated from the State Playoffs by Bullard in the Regional Semi-finals. The team, loaded with young talent in the freshmen and sophomore classes with key upperclassmen, was not expected to play as long as they did. In its first year in the 4A division, the team saw its most successful post-season play since 1998.
The team matched up with Bullard in the regional semi-final round for a best two out of three series. The Lady Panthers had a bad outing in game one, finding themselves down 10-0 in the first inning, and would lose the contest 15-0. This young team would respond and not let a repeat of the first outing. Bullard would get on the board with a run in the fourth inning, but the Lady Panthers would respond with a two-run bottom of the fourth inning. That score would hold until the final inning when Bullard would make use of throwing errors by the Lady Panthers to capture the lead. Bullard would win the series and advance with a game two score of 5-2.
The Lady Panthers will return some key players from this season. Kelsie Adams, the fantastic pitcher that led the team through the playoffs from the mound and plate, will return for her senior year. Taylor Roberts, as a freshman, was a vital relief pitcher and gained valuable experience. Underclassmen played essential roles for the team in the field and at the plate included; sophomores Madi Thomas, Jenna Pharr, and freshmen; Paige Scarbro, Callie Hunter, Tess Cutler, and Avery Jennings.
The Lady Panthers will miss the talents of their seniors who helped lead the team in success. Those being outfielder and baserunner Sydney Sullivan, shortstop and hitter Kylie Allen, and catcher and power hitter Tinsley Love. The team will also be under new leadership when they take the field in 2022 as head coach Jason Brogdon has announced that he will not be coaching in the future but will be staying in a teaching-only position with the school district.
Brogdon said of his team, "I couldn't have asked them to fight any harder. I'm super proud of them. They haven't been talked about like this for some time. The goal was to set new boundaries and have that swag and attitude for people playing Van Alstyne. That was the mission for the girls. Four rounds is a treat."