HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Pitching leads Lady Panthers to victory over Monahans

Strong pitching stood out in the Permian softball team’s 10-0 victory over Monahans in six innings Tuesday at the Ratliff Softball Complex.

Alexis Belen pitched four innings in the contest, while Madilyn Martinez closed it out with a solid finish.

The duo combined to strike out seven batters, allowing two hits and walking four.

Belen said she felt confident in the circle because she knew her teammates were ready to help if anything went wrong.

“It feels really good because I have a lot of trust in them,” Belen said. “I know they’re going to have my back as well as I have their back.”

The Permian defense helped set the tone early, closing out the top of the first inning with two consecutive groundouts at first base.

Taylor Ramirez then wasted no time putting Permian on the scoreboard with a leadoff home run over the right field fence in the bottom of the inning.

Back-to-back doubles helped Permian maintain momentum in the second inning, with Tiggy Rayos bringing in courtesy runner Bailey House to extend the lead to 2-0.

Anyssa Cruz reached second on an error, allowing Rayos and Emma Chavez to score to give the Lady Panthers a four-run advantage.

Four runs in the third doubled the lead for Permian as it continued to hold Monahans off from the circle.

The Lady Loboes had their strongest chance to get on the board in the fourth, but Belen got out of a jam with a double play and a strikeout.

After scoring once more in the fifth, Permian sealed the run-rule victory with a solo homer from Cruz to center field.

“There’s nothing that can replace that confidence early on,” Permian Angela Arebalos said of her team’s late hitting. “If you can get that confidence going, they can go up there thinking they can hit it in any situation with any pitcher.”

Arebalos scheduled the contest against Monahans knowing that the Lady Loboes would provide a tough challenge after making a deep run in the Class 4A playoffs last year.

Monahans softball coach Lindsie Swarb said the matchup with Permian will help prepare her team for District 2-4A play and another possible appearance in this year’s postseason.

“Sure, we can look back on our mistakes and talk about everything we did wrong and we do talk about the errors,” Swarb said. “Every win or loss, we try to take a learning moment from it and move forward.”

The Lady Panthers (12-3 overall) continue nondistrict play in the Turf Wars Southlake Tournament starting Thursday in the Metroplex.

>> Follow Chris Amaya on Twitter at @OA_CAmaya