The Panthers have won nine consecutive games and are averaging 8.4 runs per game this spring.
The Dr. Phillips softball team sure knows how to rally for a comeback win in style.
After struggling with errors March 5 against Wekiva, the Panthers saw themselves trailing the Mustangs 6-3 entering their final at-bat, with a seven-game winning streak hanging in the balance.
First, with bases loaded and two outs, Tiare Kong drove in the tying run to extend the game to extra innings. Then in the bottom of the eighth, the Panthers loaded the bases for Hannah Eden.
All Eden did from there was belt a walk-off grand slam over the left field fence, giving the Panthers the 10-6 victory in extra innings and extending their win streak.
A day later, the comeback kids did it again.
Trailing 3-0 to district rival Boone after one inning, the Panthers clawed their way back into the game and scored six runs in the final three innings to earn a 6-3 win — taking the streak to a whopping nine games.
“It’s been fun,” head coach Mike Gale said, jokingly adding that he was getting a little old for a game such as that.
Dr. Phillips (10-1) has been especially effective at the plate this spring. The Panthers are averaging 8.4 runs per game and have outscored opponents 84-29 so far.
“It’s not just one person doing it (hitting well) — they’re all hitting very good right now,” Gale said. “We’ve got four kids hitting over .400 and three kids hitting over .300.”
Eden has led the Panthers at the plate with a .472 average, six extra-base hits and 11 RBIs. Kati Kelly isn’t far behind with nine RBIs and a .438 average, while Gracie Lopez is hitting .457 and has scored 16 runs.
Dejia Benn is the team’s leading run-scorer, with 17 and an on-base percentage of .488.
On the mound, the Panthers have relied heavily on junior Raychel Trocki. Trocki has nine wins and has struck out 90 batters in 71 innings of work. Despite the heavy workload, she has an impressive 1.32 ERA.
Gale said his team has benefited from playing a rugged schedule in the fall season and in the preseason, during which he said the Panthers routinely “got our butts kicked.”
“There ain’t no secret,” Gale said, reflecting on the team’s early success. “We went out and played the hardest teams we could find. We got our butts kicked, but it makes you better.”
Dr. Phillips enters a difficult stretch now with the second half of its home-and-home with Boone Thursday (at home) and a three-game gauntlet next week with Windermere and two district contests against Lake Nona.