ABILENE The historic run made by the Permian Lady Panthers softball team came to an end.
In Game 2 of the regional semifinal best-of-3 series, the Plano Wildcats eliminated Permian 12-5 Friday night at Abilene Christian University’s Wells Field.
Plano advances to the regional finals, where it will meet Keller.
Just like Game 1, the Lady Panthers showed a lot of fight after they trailed 6-0. Permian battled back to trail by two runs later in the game, before Plano added on some insurance runs in the final inning.
Permian set the tone for years to come. It advanced to the regional semifinals for the first time in program history.
“Making history always is a successful season, so we got to make sure our girls remember that and remember every moment, and how hard it took,” Permian head coach Kristin Williams said. “We did a good job.”
Plano (25-4) got on the board first with a two-run home run by Bronte Rhoden in the top of the first.
The Wildcats kept their momentum going at the plate as they got back-to-back home runs from Lily Ray and Audrey McNeil in the top of the second to extend their lead to 4-0.
After a throwing error by the catcher, Plano plated home two more runs in the third inning.
The Lady Panthers chipped away at the deficit after Hunter Harkrider hit a two-RBI inside-the-park home run to left center. Audrey Garcia finished off the rally with an RBI single.
Olivia Garmon extended Plano’s lead to 7-3 with an RBI single in the fifth.
Permian (33-6) rallied for two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Hannah Banker scored on an error by the center fielder, while Harkrider drove in Brianna Dominguez on a groundout.
Holding a two-run lead, Plano’s Natalie O’Brien drove in Rhoden on a fielder’s choice in the sixth inning.
The Wildcats’ offense erupted for four runs in the seventh. Rhoden hit a clutch two-RBI single to highlight the big inning. Plano outhit Permian 14-8.
Dominguez led the Lady Panthers going 2 for 4 with two singles. Garcia finished 2 for 3 with two singles and an RBI.
Harkrider went 1 for 4 with the home run and three RBIs. Aliyah Lara and Rylee Day each went 1 for 3 with a single.
Permian’s Alexis Morales started in the circle, allowing four earned runs on three hits in 1.3 innings. Jaycee Morales relieved for 5.3 innings, allowing 11 hits and five earned runs with two strikeouts.
Plano’s Lindsay Edwards finished 3 for 4 with a single, two doubles and an RBI. Rhoden went 2 for 4 with a single, homer and four RBIs.
McNeil finished a triple shy of hitting for the cycle as she went 3 for 4 with a single, double, homer and an RBI.
In the circle, McNeil threw a complete-game, allowing four earned runs. She tallied five strikeouts and walked one batter.
Going four rounds deep in the playoffs took a lot of mental toughness. The Lady Panthers proved that they could fight and learn from their mistakes each week.
“These girls … they learn lessons every play, every moment,” Williams said. “Don’t stop, keep going, work harder, learn from your mistakes and let’s go get them, this ain’t over.
“It’s not over. We can go again next year.”
>> Follow Peter Dindinger on Twitter @PDindinger
Plano…………. 222 0114 — 12 14 3
Permian……… 000 4200 — 5 8 3
Audrey McNeil and Czoey White. Alexis Morales, Jacyee Morales (2) and Hannah Banker. W — McNeil. L — Alexis Morales. 2B — Plano: Lindsay Edwards (2), McNeil. HR — Plano: Bronte Rhoden, Lily Ray, McNeil; Permian: Hunter Harkrider.
Records — Plano (25-4); Permian (33-6).