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Panthers suffer heart-breaking loss

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, sports Writer
MANTEO — Most of the Lady Panthers sat down in right field, their faces buried in their hands, sobbing uncontrollably, while Manteo’s softball team danced and hugged in left field.
A bases-loaded RBI single by Emily Cahoon in the bottom of the 10th inning gave the Redskins a 2-1 come-from-behind win over the Panthers.
The Panthers jumped on top early as Amanda Daw singled with two outs in the third inning and advanced to third base on a double by Amanda Beirne. She put the Panthers ahead 1-0 as Manteo pitcher Bree Tillett unleashed a wild pitch, allowing Daw to race home from third.
It appeared as though the Panthers would make that lead stand up as star pitcher Amanda Beirne was on cruise control through five innings.
The junior pitcher gave up just one hit through five innings thanks to crucial defense plays by outfielders Heather Ussery, who made a running catch in the third inning, and Lauren Rodriguez, who may have made the catch of the year by diving face first for a ball hit by Sammy Jo Hannett in the fifth.
But in the sixth inning, the Lady Panthers had a momentary lapse of concentration and the Redskins took advantage. Haleigh Maher led off the inning with a single and advanced to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Meredith Gwaltney. After Beirne induced a pop up from Tillett, the Redskins got on the scoreboard on an error by Panthers; third baseman Whitney Lewis. Lewis attempted to field a hard chopper by Cahoon, but the ball glanced off her glove and trickled into right field allowing Maher to score.
Northside had several chances to score before Manteo put up the winning run in the 10th. In the top of the seventh, Casey Alligood led off with a double, but was left stranded there after relief pitcher Holly Watts came in to retire three straight batters. The Panthers also got a runner to second base in the eighth inning as Ussery hit a two-out double, but was also left standing there.
The Panthers’ best scoring chance in extra innings came in the top of the 10th as Rodriguez reached on an error , then advanced to third on a one-out single by Lewis. Lewis eventually stole second base to give the Lady Panthers (14-10) runners on second and third with no outs. But Watts got Katie Sasnett to strike out, before first baseman Morgan Hannell snagged a hard line drive by Ussery to end the inning.
The Redskins were able to push the run across in the 10th after Beirne walked Watts with one-out, then Maher reached on an error by Lewis. The ‘Skins loaded the bases one batter later on a single by Gwaltney to set up Cahoon’s heroics.
Northside 001 000 000 0 — 1 7 4
Manteo 000 001 000 0 — 2 6 4
WP: Holly Watts; LP: Amanda Beirne
Hitters: N — Whitney Lewis 2-4, Amanda Daw 1-4 (RUN), Casey Alligood 1-4 (2B), Amanda Beirne 1-4, Kassie Sasnett 1-4, Heather Ussery 1-4 (2B); M — Halieigh Maher 3-5, Emily Cahoon 1-5 (RBI), Mitzy Minton 1-4, Meredith Gwaltney 1-5.