Lady Panthers open season with key district road win over Central

By Ken Lay

When the Powell High School softball team opened its 2024 season, it wasted little time clicking its offense into gear.

On a warm Thursday afternoon, the bats were hot early for the Lady Panthers, as they pounded out 13 hits and drew seven walks in a 9-2 victory over Central in a key District 3-4A contest at Fountain City Ballpark.

In the season opener for both schools, Powell also got a solid performance in the circle from senior pitcher Kayleigh Smith, who threw a complete game and surrendered just two unearned runs, three hits and two walks, while striking out 10 Lady Bobcats.

Powell coach Jeff Inman couldn’t have been much happier with a season opener.

“We played pretty well. We hit the ball well and (Smith) threw really well,” Inman said. “We have a young team and we have some really good players and they’re all really good kids.”

Powell started fast in 2024 as it scored twice in the top of the first inning Langston Coggins came up with a two-run single with two outs.

The Lady Bobcats pulled even in the bottom of the second with help from some shaky Powell defense with two outs in the frame.

Central scored its runs when Jordan Mayes and Bella Collins came home when Mattie Gloekner reached on an error, making the score 2-2. Mayes led off the inning and was hit by a pitch and Collins, who had two of Central’s three hits, including a double, singled.

The Lady Panthers regained the lead in the third when Smith hit an RBI single that plated Rianna Boone, who went 3-for-5 with two runs scored.

In addition to her solid performance in the circle, Smith was 1-for-3 with two RBIs.

Powell added four runs in the fourth to blow things open. In the frame, Jaylan Heatherly had a two-run single. Leslie Hensley came up with an RBI single and Smith drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.

The Lady Panthers closed out the scoring in the fifth on a two-run double by Hensley, their catcher, who had two hits and knocked in three runs against Central.