A roller coaster season for the Litchfield Lady Panthers came to an end on Monday, May 13, with a 6-2 loss to Carlinville in the opening game of the Class 2A Gillespie Regional.
Playing on the Cavies' home field at Loveless Park, it would be two three-run innings that doomed the Lady Panthers, with half of Carlinville's six runs coming off errors.
The game started off in positive fashion for Litchfield, who scored a run in the first inning off a single by Mallory Beechler, a double by Lizzy Luttrell and an RBI ground out by Trisha Seipp.
Carlinville would come back in the bottom of the first though, scoring three times and benefitting from an error and a passed ball. Catie Sims would reach first on a swinging bunt with one out and moved from first to third on an attempted fielder's choice and errant throw by the Litchfield shortstop.
After a steal by Jordyn Houseman, who reached first on the fielder's choice, Sims would tie the game with a passed ball that also moved Houseman to third. Houseman would give Carlinville the lead one batter later, as Lexi Bates singled to make it 2-1.
Morgan Broaddus would pick up the third hit of the inning and move Bates to third, with Dani Westnedge driving in Bates with a base hit in the next at-bat.
With two runners on, Litchfield starter Emily Senjan got some help from her defense to get out of the inning as a ground ball to Carly Boden at first base turned into a double play, as she stepped on first and threw to catcher Lizzy Luttrell, who tagged Broaddus out at the plate.
Carlinville's third run of the inning would be the last one either team scored until the fifth, despite the Panthers having runners on in each of the next three innings.
To start the top of the fifth, Senjan would triple and score, coming home on a ground ball to second by Mallory Beechler to make it 3-2.
Carlinville would add three unearned runs in the bottom half of the inning though, with all three coming with two outs.
Jordyn Houseman singled and took second when no one covered the bag on the hit to the outfield. An error at short would allow Houseman to score in the next at-bat and would let Lexi Bates reach first.
Bates would move to third on a bloop single by Morgan Broaddus and would score on a passed ball to make it 5-2. Broaddus, who moved to second on the initial passed ball, took third, when the throw trying to get Bates at the plate skittered toward the pitcher's mound.
Litchfield would try to throw to third to get Broaddus, but another error would allow her to come home and make it a four-run game.
Senjan would hit the next batter, but got out of the jam with her third strikeout of the game.
Down to their final six outs of the season, Litchfield tried to get something going in the sixth as Bri Jeffers reached first, after being hit by a pitch for the second time in the game. Westnedge, Carlinville's starting pitcher, would keep Jeffers on first though, as two pop ups in the infield ended the top half of the sixth with Carlinville still up 6-2.
Senjan would make short work of the Cavies in the sixth, retiring three of the four batters she faced, with a relatively harmless single mixed in between.
Senjan would try to get things rolling in the seventh, picking up her third hit of the game with a one-out single. She would move into scoring position with a passed ball, but a foul out to third and a running snag by the Carlinville shortstop on a pop up to short left, would end the game and the season for the Lady Panthers.
As she has been all season, Senjan was one of the bright spots for Litchfield. The junior would go 3-for-4 with two singles, a triple and a run scored. Mallory Beechler, Bri Jeffers and Ashley Hickerson also had singles for Litchfield, who finished the season with a record of 5-18.
Lizzy Luttrell, the Panthers' lone senior, also had a double in her final game in a Litchfield uniform. With her athleticism and versatility, Luttrell batted over .300 for the season and was among the team's leaders in RBIs, hits, runs and doubles.
While Litchfield will miss Luttrell's contributions, Coach Jessica Ball will bring back several strong contributors, including Emily Senjan, Trisha Seipp and Mallory Beechler, who all finished in the top four for batting for the team.
May 13 at Carlinville
Class 2A Gillespie Regional
Litchfield 100 010 0 2 7 4
Carlinville 300 030 x 6 8 0
Litchfield IP R ER H K BB
W-Senjan 6 6 3 8 4 0
*Senjan 1 HBP
W-Westnedge 7 2 2 7 0 1
*Westnedge 2 HBP
Multiple Hits: Litchfield - Emily Senjan (3-4, 1R); Carlinville - Morgan Broaddus 2, Jordyn Houseman 2, Catie Sims 1, Alexis Norwood 1, Paityn Tieman 1, Lexi Bates 1. 2B: Litchfield - Lizzy Luttrell 1. 3B: Litchfield - Emily Senjan 1.
Records: Litchfield (5-18); Carlinville (8-15).