TEXARKANA, Texas -- Adi Koller raced home with the winning run on Hailey Allen's walk-off RBI single to give PG an 8-7 win over a talented and tough Fouke team Tuesday night at Hawk Field.
A back-and-forth battle between two teams with playoff aspirations produced big hits, big plays and clutch pitching. Both teams came from behind twice to knot the score at 7 going into the final stanza.
PG, which opens district play at home against North Lamar Friday, improved to 9-8-1. Fouke, which got on the softball field eight days ago, thanks to a 32-5 state quarterfinalist basketball team, dropped to 1-2.
The Lady Panthers return but two seniors from a 21-win, playoff team a year ago. Despite youth and inexperience, they played error-free ball against Pleasant Grove, which has tackled quality competition over the past six weeks.
"We competed really well," said Fouke coach Cody Powell. "We made plays. Pleasant Grove just made a few more."
Or Koller made a few more. The Hawks' flashy shortstop had a pair of two-run home runs, stole two bases and made perhaps the defining play of the game with Fouke at the plate in the top of the seventh.
Leading off, Constance Ross smacked a low liner that reached the left-field fence before Gracie Whitecotton could track it down. She zipped the ball to Koller, who whipped around and fired the ball to third bagger Kasidy Ingram, who slapped the tag on Ross' outstretched hand a nanosecond before it reached the bag.
Sarah Hackleman, who picked up the win with two scoreless innings, shut the door on the Panthers to set up the final act.
With one out, Koller reached on an infield single. She promptly stole second and moved to third on a single by Abby Runion. Two hitters later, Allen delivered the game-winning hit.
"It was good to see us stay calm when things didn't go our way," said PG coach Becca Collom. "We were able to play well under pressure."
PG got out to an early 2-0 lead when M.J. Williams led off with a single and Koller followed with a line shot to center field that just cleared the fence as Fouke center fielder Paige Attaway slammed head-first into the wall.
The Panthers grabbed a 3-2 lead in the fourth, finessing two hits, a walk, and three PG miscues into three runs.
The Hawks promptly replied with another Koller blast over the center-field fence, again with Williams on base. PG scored three more times in the inning. Hackleman drove in Allen and Presley Humphrey with a double to center and Whitecotton brought her home with a single to make it 7-3.
The Panthers answered that with a four-run fifth. Olivia Huckabee led off with a single and shortstop Kendall Haworth drove a pitch over the fence in left-center. Laynie Richardson drew a walk. Bella Monroe, running for Richardson, scored on a hit by Kaylene Heflin, who later scored on a single by Ally Caudle.
Caudle held PG scoreless in the sixth, but not the seventh.