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Bizarre plays prove costly to Lady Panthers

RIO GRANDE — The Chesapeake Lady Panthers must have felt like they were in the Twilight Zone instead of a softball game.

The Lady Panthers entered the Division III district semifinals unbeaten but two bizarre plays led to a 3-1 loss at the hands of the Piketon Lady Red Streaks.

Despite the strange plays that featured three errors that led to unearned runs, Chesapeake coach Aaron Rice said a six-day layoff may have taken its toll.

“Offensively we didn’t do a good job. We swung at a lot of bad balls,” said Rice. “We got a lot of good practice time during the layoff, but it’s a lot different when you aren’t going against live pitching in game situations.”

The game was scoreless through three innings. Piketon broke the deadlock with two runs in the fourth inning.

An example of the strange happenings could be emphasized by the fact Chesapeake pitcher Allison Chapman struck out four batters in the inning.

With one out, Shella Zimmerman reached on an error and moved to third on a bad pickoff throw.

Following another strikeout, Aryn Harris walked and stole second. Donielle Ison struck out but the ball got past the catcher.

Zimmerman scored from third base while Ison started toward the dugout and removed her helmet thinking she was out. The rule book states that the batter is automatically out if they intentionally remove their helmet if the play is live.

When Ison realized the ball was loose, she put her helmet back on and ran to first base along the inside of the foul line. Chapman’s throw to first hit Ison in the back which means the runner is automatically out and the play is dead.

But Ison was ruled safe as the second run scored.

Another strange play gave Piketon its third run.

With two outs, Holly Brabson got a bunt single and stole second and third. Calli Vance walked and a wild pitch sent Brabson for home.

Although the throw home appeared to be in time to get Brabson, the runner pushed at the catcher’s glove with her hands and the ball came loose allowing her to be ruled safe.

“The bottom line is we made too many defensive mistakes,” said Rice.

Chesapeake (23-1) got a run in the seventh inning when Hannah Henderson reached on an error, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error.

Chapman struck out 11, walked two and gave up four hits in taking the loss. Zimmerman got the win as she struck out 14, walked four and gave up hits to Sarah Mayo and Casey Kirk.

Piketon 000 210 0 = 3 4 2

Chesapeake 000 000 1 = 1 2 3

Shella Zimmerman and Calli Vance. Allison Chapman and Courtney Heffner. W-Zimmerman (14-K, 4-BB). L-Chapman (11-K, 2-BB, 0-ER). Hitting-Piketon: Holly Brabson 1-3, Jessica Moore 1-3, Elissa Robinson 2-3; Chesapeake: Sarah Mayo 1-2, Casey Kirk 1-3.