DU QUOIN -- The Pinckneyville Panthers softball team continued its run of strong play of late, knocking off Du Quoin, 5-2, Monday on the road.
With the win, the Panthers improved to 11-6 overall, 6-1 in the River to River Conference. The Indians fell to 11-10 overall, 4-3 in the league.
"This was a big win to keep separation from the rest of the conference," said Pinckneyville head coach Alan Engelhardt. "I thought we really fought at the plate and forced a lot of long at-bats, leading to (Du Quoin pitcher Chloe) Hill having to throw a bunch of pitches. When we are locked in like that, we become a good offensive team. All nine spots in our lineup reached base safely, and that puts significant stress on the defense."
Winning pitcher for the Panthers was Taylor Witges. She allowed two runs on four hits. Offensively, Taylor Kurtz went 3-4 with a triple and run batted in for the Panthers. Lauren Jackson was 2-4 with a double and RBI. Megan Engelhardt was 1-2 with an RBI and Hallie Waggoner was 1-4 with a double and RBI.
The Tribe had four players with one hit each, including Chloe Hess, Maci McKinnies, Olivia Whitley and Abbi Mocaby.
The Panthers took a 4-0 lead with two runs in the first, one in the second and one in the fifth before the Indians could counter with their only two runs in the bottom half of the fifth. The visitors tacked on a single tally in the sixth to account for the final spread.
"Our first inning was huge with Kiya Hagene lining a single, Taylor Kurtz bunting her over, and after a Taylor Witges lineout, she scored on a Lauren Jackson double. Then, Megan Engelhardt singled her in and we were comfortable from the start."