Pine Valley Rides Wilcox’s One-Hitter To Title Game

NORTH COLLINS – Pine Valley freshman hurler Jessica Wilcox came within a strike of throwing a no-hitter Tuesday as the No. 6 Lady Panthers (7-8) cruised past No. 2 North Collins (15-4), 13-3, during Section 6 Class D semifinal softball action.

“We had runners on base every inning,” North Collins’ coach Jan Warren said. “We just didn’t hit the ball at all.”

Beth Kibler was down to her last strike before connecting on a base hit off Wilcox, who struck out 10 and walked 14.

“Lately, the past few games, our girls have really come alive with their bats,” Pine Valley head coach Danielle Arnone said. “So even with all those walks, I knew we’d be fine.”

The Lady Panthers scored two runs in the first, five in the second, one in the third, four in the fifth and one in the seventh while the Lady Eagles scored all three of their runs in the home half of the first.

“We had the bases loaded in the first inning,” Warren noted. “(Wilcox) walked in a run already and the next two hitters struck out. Then we had another walk and the last girl struck out.”

Kayla Mansfield, Alex Bentham and Nicole Rinehart (double) accounted for the RBIs in the Lady Panthers’ five-run second.

“It was a great season,” Warren said. “I’m proud of them. They did a great job and they’ll have something to build off for next year.”

Bentham (double, two runs) finished with three hits while Rinehart (double, two runs) and Mansfield (two runs) each had two hits in the win.

Jessica Lawton, who is one of only two seniors for the Lady Eagles, allowed 13 runs – nine earned – on 15 hits while striking out one and walking two.

“We still should be alright,” Warren concluded. “It’s all going to hinge on whether or not Sam Gier throws next year and I think she will. She threw about 20 innings for us this year and she did a good job.”