Frankfort High’s softball team is best described as a work in progress according to head coach Jody Hellard. Inexperience mixed in with fleeting moments of greatness has been the Lady Panthers’ formula this season.
Thursday night’s doubleheader at Lakeview Park against Carroll County was no different as FHS fell 4-2 in the first game and then 12-2 in six innings in the second.
“In the first game we played well,” Hellard said. “We made a couple of mental mistakes that kind of cost us that ball game.
“The second game ... it was close for a while and then all of a sudden we made too many mental mistakes and too many errors.”
In the first game, the Lady Panthers (4-14) got on the board early. Sarah Hedden led off the first inning with a line drive to left field for a single. Mattie Hutcherson bunted her to second and then Kara Howard bunted to Carroll County pitcher Mary Hawkins who threw the ball past first base allowing Hedden to score.
As Howard ran to second, right fielder Hayley Damron overthrew second allowing Howard to come all the way around and make the score 2-0.
Howard - the Lady Panther’s starting pitcher - and the Frankfort defense held Carroll County at bay for the next four innings. Hawkins did the same for Carroll County (9-9).
In the top of the sixth, Hawkins helped her own cause with an infield single to lead off the inning. Brooke Boles was then hit by a pitch. Angel Robago roped a double to left to score Hawkins and move Boles’ courtesy runner Christin Newby to third. A single by MacKenzie Ogden scored both runners to put Carroll County ahead 3-2.
Carroll County put the game away in the seventh, scoring one run on three hits and an error.
Howard pitched a complete game for FHS allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks. She had four strikeouts. Hawkins also went seven innings allowing two runs on two hits and struck out nine.
The second game was 1-0 in favor of Carroll County until the third when it posted three runs on three hits and two errors to jump ahead 4-0. Carroll notched another run in the fourth.
Frankfort finally crossed the plate in the fifth. Hedden and Hutcherson hit back-to-back one-out singles to start things off. Howard then hit another single to load the bases. Shelby Aldridge grounded into a fielder’s choice, putting Hedden out at the plate.
Carroll County pitcher Sarah Hawkins walked Aubrey Penn to score Hutcherson. The next batter, Karmen Morton, then hit a ball back to Sarah Hawkins who missed it allowing Howard to score, making it 5-2.
The comeback was short-lived as Carroll County racked up five hits in the sixth inning and - along with three Lady Panther errors - scored seven runs to mercy-rule FHS, 12-2.
Aldridge pitched a complete game for FHS allowing 13 hits and striking out three. Starting pitcher Kaylee Perry went 3 1/3 for Carroll County allowing only three hits and two walks and struck out four. Sarah Hawkins finished out the game allowing two runs on three hits and walked one while striking out three.
“Shelby and Kara both pitched good games,” Hellard said, “but they didn’t have enough backing to win the ball game. We have to hit the ball. We’re not hitting the ball well enough to win a ball game right now.”
Hutcherson and Howard led FHS at the plate - each going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles. Hedden and Aldridge had a single each.
Frankfort will host Eminence in a doubleheader today at Lakeview Park. The first game starts a 5:30 p.m.