Friday, April 3rd, 2009
By Ryan Hines
Panthers score four times in seventh to knock off Bulldogs
  ROCKFORD - In the span of 48 hours, the Parkway softball team has gone from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs.
Just two days ago, the Panthers were a victim of a walk-off home run by St. Marys, but on Thursday, Parkway won in its final at-bat.
Parkway erased a three-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning to rally and beat Celina, 5-4.
Celina, now 0-3 to start the season, was in control for six innings after scoring four early runs, but couldn't finish off the Panthers.
"We didn't bring any energy to the diamond tonight and it showed for the first six innings," said Parkway head coach Mark Esselstein. "We got it together in the last inning to win the game. Once we got it going in the seventh, it seemed to fire everyone else up."
It certainly isn't the way Celina head coach Nicole Driggs thought the season would start, but she remained positive after the gut-wrenching defeat.
"I just got done trying to tell the girls to treat this like a win," said Driggs. "We came out here and played the way that we are capable of playing and nearly beat a very good Parkway team. Even coach Esselstein said that we deserved to win this game today. We just didn't finish it off."
It was a lackluster performance by Parkway until catching a spark in the fifth inning with a Chelsie O'Neill run off a wild pitch by Celina pitcher Christine Thobe.
Driggs made a pitching change after five innings of play by bringing in Abbey Welker to replace Thobe.
Welker coasted through the sixth inning, but ran into trouble right away to start the seventh inning. Katlyn Smith singled and O'Neill drew a walk which prompted Driggs to make another pitching change.
Driggs brought Thobe back in to pitch, but she gave up a single to Morgan Cron to load the bases before Celina was able to record the first out of the inning.
Esselstein then brought Brittany Bollenbacher off the Parkway bench to pinch hit and the junior drew a walk to force in a run to make the score 4-2.
Megan Ketchum tied the score at 4-4 with a two-run single and then Lindsay Shellabarger drove the ball to right-centerfield with Ketchum scoring the game-winning run all the way from first base when Celina misplayed the Shellabarger single in the outfield.
"As a coach, you always second guess whether or not you make a pitching change after the way it turned out," said Driggs. "We saw Thobe wear down a little bit and we haven't ever seen her go seven innings yet, so we made the change. Then we tried to bring her back in and it just didn't work out."
It's unlikely that any local softball or baseball games get played today, but Celina is schedule to host Coldwater while Parkway is slated to host Van Wert.
Additional online stories for this date
Print edition only stories for this date
• Bids sought for nearly $500,000 Carthagena Road widening job
• Fort woman tells of work as combat medic
• Concerned parents attend Minster BOE meeting
• County receives high number of work bids
• Palms revive Easter week history in area churches
• Cavaliers bunt home winning run in eighth
• Brockly powers Celina to victory
a_d
Monday Night
67°
Slight Chance Rain Showers
24%
Tuesday
80°
Thunderstorms Likely
61%
Tuesday Night
67°
Thunderstorms Likely
57%
Wednesday
79°
Chance Thunderstorms
48%
Wednesday Night
62°
Chance Thunderstorms
33%
Thursday
83°
Slight Chance Thunderstorms
22%
Thursday Night
65°
Partly Cloudy
14%
Friday
84°
Slight Chance Thunderstorms
20%
Friday Night
68°
Slight Chance Thunderstorms
29%
Saturday
79°
Chance Thunderstorms
50%
Saturday Night
57°
Chance Thunderstorms
50%
3 Day
Extended
a_da_d