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Thexton, Behr sparks Panther softball to split
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Great Bend pitcher Braelyn Turner - photo by JIM MISUNAS Great Bend Tribune

BY JIM MISUNAS
jmisunas@gbtribune.com

Great Bend Panther Paige Thexton and Kya Behr combined for seven RBIs to spark a hard-fought 8-6 softball victory over McPherson Monday at the Great Bend Sports Complex. Manhattan downed the Panthers 4-1 in Monday’s opener.

Behr is batting .636, 14 for 22 and DeShawna Bryant is batting .476 (10 for 21).

Great Bend (5-1) played the twin bill with temperatures in the 50s with northwest winds blowing from 15 to 20 mph.

PANTHERS 8, MCPHERSON 6 (G2) – After a lackluster offensive opener, Thexton and Behr delivered heavy hitting in the nightcap. Thexton doubled in Katherine Mazouch and Behr singled in Thexton for a 2-0 lead.

McPherson’s Carmin Pavlovich hit an RBI groundout and Addison Chapman homered for a 2-2 tie. Thexton’s fifth-inning homer made it 3-2.

Behr capped a 5-run sixth inning with a bases-loaded double that scored Mazouch, Alyssa McCauley and Thexton. McCauley and Thexton drew bases-loaded walks to force home runs.

McPherson made things interesting with a 4-run seventh inning off Chayla Prendergast (4-0, 3.67 ERA). Panther reliever Braelyn Turner struck out Alex Romero to strand the tying baserunner on base.

MANHATTAN 4, PANTHERS 1 (G1) – Manhattan drilled a trio of home runs to spoil effective pitching by Panther pitcher Turner (1-1, 3.68 ERA), who struck out eight batters.

Great Bend displayed brilliant defense by turning a trio of double plays. Centerfielder Bryant delivered a pair of back-to-back fielding gems. Bryant snared Anna Wollenberg’s fly ball and threw out McKenzie Reid at first base. On the next play, Bryant made a dazzling catch to rob Isabelle Peabody of an extra-base hit.

First baseman McCauley turned Wollenberg’s fifth-inning line drive into a double play on Reid. Shortstop Thexton turned Reid’s groundball into a 6-3 seventh-inning double play.

Peabody ripped a 2-run homer in the first inning that brought home Wollenberg. Reagan Neitzel homered in the fourth inning. Jaden McGee homered in the sixth inning.

Panther McCauley homered in the second inning. The Panthers batted zero for six with runners in scoring position. Ringo was stranded after a fourth-inning leadoff double. Bryant doubled and was stranded in the third inning.

Manhattan reliever Jaden McGee retired nine consecutive batters to earn a save.

Manhattan 200 101 0 – 4 9 0

Great Bend 010 000 0 – 1 5 0

Wetherington, McGee (5) and R. Neitzel. Turner and Koelsch. W—Wetherington. L—Turner, 1-1. SV—McGee. 2B—GB—Bryant, Ringo; M—Gracyn Neitzel. HR—GB—McCauley; M—Peabody, McGee, Reagan Neitzel

McPherson 000 110 4 – 6 7 0

Great Bend 002 015 x – 8 7 1

Cheatham, Herrera (1), Chapman (4), Pavlovich (6) and Romero. Prendergast, Turner (7) and Koelsch. W—Prendergast, 4-0. L—Herrera. SV—Turner.  2B—GB—Behr 2, Thexton; M—Chapman. HR—GB—Thexton; M--Chapman.