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The Wiley team meets after a disappointing 5-2 loss to La Junta on September 7th. The Panthers have two games this week.
Wilson Photography

Panther Softball 8-1 as They Head into Busy Week

By Betsy Barnett

September 21, 2022

It has been a long hiatus for the Wiley Panthers who are raring to get back on the diamond again this week. They haven’t played a game since September 7 when they lost their first contest of the season in a barnburner of a game against La Junta, 2-5. They have had time to think about where they need to improve in order to move forward successfully and should be firing on all cylinders on Tuesday when they host Woodland Park (4-11) in Wiley (6:00 pm) and then the next day on Wednesday at Rocky Ford (7-9) who first contends with La Junta on Tuesday.

Wiley is currently 8-1 in the season and 3-1 in the conference after Dolores Huerta gave the Panthers a forfeit.

Against the experience of the Tigers from La Junta, the Panthers started slowly and found themselves down 3-0 after the first inning. The Tigers gained another run in the bottom of the third.

But the Wiley crew picked it up and challenged the Tigers in the top of the fourth inning as they scored two runs and moved the needle to 4-2.

In that fourth inning the scoring began when Rachel Kopasz pounded out a double to left field. With two outs and Kopasz still on second base, Fatima Gomez pulled a walk to put runners on first and second. Lexi Shotton then loaded up the bases with a single to right field.

Wiley pitcher Bethany Summers helped herself out as she got the ball in play with two outs and the bases loaded forcing an error on a hard ground ball that allowed Kopasz and Gomez to score. Shotton ended up on third just 60 feet away from making it a ballgame.

Unfortunately, the next batter made contact, but the Tigers made the put out for three away.

Through the next three innings the two pitchers would duel to no runs on either side. Although the Panthers added three more hits in the next three innings, they couldn’t get anyone across.

Wiley managed to scatter just five hits around the field, but their downfall was the 5 errors committed in the contest.

Kopasz had a solid day at the plate going 2-for-2 with 2 hits, including a double, 1 walk and one run scored.

Zoie Martinez, Dixie Bitner and Shotton each added a single. Gomez and Bitner were also on base with a walk.

Gomez was the only baserunner who committed a theft.

Bethany Summers took her first loss of the season from the circle as the junior surrendered five runs on seven hits over six innings, striking out four and walking two.

Madison Wiley was the winning pitcher for La Junta. Wiley went the distance in seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits and striking out six. She would walk three Panthers.

The Burlington Cougars have two Kit Carson players on their team including senior shortstop Torrie Randel and junior first baseman Payge Booker-Rady. No stats have been available for Burlington since their first game. The Cougars are struggling with a 3-10 season record and are 0-2 in the conference.

Like Wiley, they haven’t been on the diamond for over a week as they grabbed two non-conference wins on Saturday, September 10 over Timnath in double-header scores of 17-3 and 14-7.

This week the Cougars will host the Limon Badgers (7-8) on Thursday, September 22 in a double header. They will then travel north to take on the Wray/Yuma combo team on Saturday, September 24 in another double header. Both meetings are important conference counters.

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