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RIVERSIDE - The present and the future were both showcased Wednesday afternoon as the Snake River Lady Panthers celebrated senior night with a solid 8-1 victory over American Falls in softball.
The seniors led the way offensively and sophomore hurler Alyssa DeLaney pitched a complete game, one hit masterpiece, shutting down the Beaver offense.
"Our seniors set the tone right from the start," said Coach Kay Martin. "Courtney and Bailey had back to back doubles in the first inning to get us started and all the seniors hit the ball real well today."
The five seniors, Courtney Steinbaugh, Bailey Simper, Shayla Jones, Taylor Herrick and Chelsee Allen all had success at the plate, with all but Allen having an extra base hit.
With one out in the first inning, Steinbaugh laced a double to left center field and she was quickly followed by Simper who cracked a double to right center field that plated the game's first run.
With the one run lead, the Lady Panthers turned to sophomore ace DeLaney, who was cruising through the American Falls lineup. At one point, DeLaney struck out six straight batters, including all three in the third inning.
"I really have to give kudos to Alyssa today for the way she threw the ball," said Coach Martin. "She was able to get ahead of hitters and take advantage of the strike zone that the umpire was giving her. She was awesome."
The Lady Panther offense did not rest with the first inning run, but added four more runs in the third inning. Shayla Jones had the big hit in the inning, plating a pair of runners with one of her three hits on the day.
"All our seniors hit the ball well today," said Coach Martin. "The five girls went 8-16 on the day and every hit seemed like a big one at the time."
DeLaney was touched for an unearned run in the top of the fourth inning, despite striking out the final batter of the stanza.
The Lady Panthers came right back in the bottom of the fifth to plate three more runners and put the game out of reach for the American Falls squad.
"We played well today, like we are capable of and this was the perfect senior night for us," said Courtney Steinbaugh. "We just need to finish off the year and head to districts on this high note and we will be fine."
"This is a great group of senior girls and I love them all," said Shayla Jones. "I couldn't have picked a better group of girls to be associated with and we proved today that we can do anything when we approach the game the right way and have fun with our play."
With DeLaney mowing down the opposition and the seniors providing the offensive spark and leadership, the Lady Panthers seemed to be peaking at just the right time.
The Lady Panthers head to Teton for a Thursday non conference tilt and then travel to Marsh Valley on Friday in an all important conference game that will go a long way in determining seeding for the upcoming district tournament.