After a shaky first inning, the Knoxville Lady Panthers settled in behind the fine two-hit pitching of Ashlyn Finarty and some clutch RBI hits by Alex Griggs and Olivia Maasdam to post a 4-2 win over South Central Conference rival Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont Friday night in Knoxville.

The Rockets scored a run in the top of the first when Madysen Wade walked, Reina Taylor was hit by a pitch and Emma Lenox singled through the middle. But Finarty wriggled out of the jam with a popup and a line drive double play.

The one run stood up for the Rockets until the bottom of the fourth inning when the Panthers put two runs on the board. Maddy Findley led off the inning with a double and with two out, Ashlyn Finarty coaxed a base on balls. Maasdam then singled to left to score courtesy runner, Jalen Nelson and Maasdam would later score on an error.

Two runs were great, but four would be even better, so the Panthers put two more runs up in the bottom of the fifth. Emery Neer slapped a single and went to second on an error. Emma Dunkin reached on an infield single to put runners at the corners. Griggs then clubbed a double to score both runners and the Panthers had some breathing room.

Finarty put the Rockets down in order in the sixth, but she would run into some resistance in the top of the seventh.

Faith Roberts was safe on an error and she moved up on a passed ball. Roberts would score on a one out single by Peyton Deevers. Finarty slammed the door with a fly ball to Neer in center field and a deep fly to left that Griggs was able to haul in for the final out.

Griggs with a double and a single and Neer with two singles led the Panther attack. Finarty allowed only two hits and the fact that she had only one walk and no strikeouts is a testament to the defense her mates played.

Panther Coach Coy Hupfeld was delighted with the effort of his team.

“After the week we have had, this win feels really sweet,” Hupfeld said. “We had lost tough one run games to both Marion County rivals, Pella and Pella Christian and we really needed a big win. We are very young and we can only improve. They are definitely motivated after this win.”

Knoxville hitting: Emerey Neer 2-for-4, Emma Dunkin 1-for-3, Findley 1-for-3, Griggs 2-for-3, Olivia Maasdam 1-for-3.

Knoxville RBI: Griggs 2, Maasdam 1.

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