Including multiple postponements, Jackson County softball fans had to wait several days to see their Panthers end the regular season against Region 8-AAAAA rival Apalachee.

The result was worth it as Jackson County defeated the Wildcats 6-5 in 11 innings. The Panthers needed to score three runs in the 11th inning to win the game. The game-winner came off an error from the bat of senior Peri Foster. Blayne Dowdie scored to start the celebration.

Before Dowdie scored the game-winning run, she had the one-out, RBI single to start the rally. Her line drive to center field brought Marley Grounds home from second base. A pair of walks loaded the bases, setting up a favorable scenario for senior Whitney Hulsey. The slugger hit a hard ground ball into right field and Brownlee scored to tie the game at 5-5.

Jackson County's (11-11, 9-9 region 8-AAAAA) rally came after Apalachee (10-16, 5-13 Region 8-AAAAA) scored a pair of runs in the top of the 11th inning with one out. The rally was cut short when Hulsey and Foster caught a runner stealing third base for the second out. Maliah Lee struck out the next batter for the final out. Apalachee led 5-3 at that point.

The Panthers and Wildcats entered extra inning tied 2-2. Jackson County scored both of its runs in the bottom of the first inning on Grounds's triple to right field. Raeghan Thompson and Siearra Townley. 

Apalachee tied the game with runs in the top of the second and third innings. Both teams pitched shutouts over the next six innings. Lee pitched all 11 innings for the Panthers, throwing a whopping 153 pitches and throwing 14 strikeouts. She allowed just five hits and four walks.

The Wildcats took their first lead of the game in the top of the 10th inning with a one-out double. The Panthers tied the game with a sacrifice fly by Grounds which brought Thompson home. The Panthers had just two outs after the fly ball, but Lee was caught out at second base after not tagging up. The game was tied 3-3.

Jackson County's season continues this Tuesday (Oct. 12) in the first round of the AAAAA State Playoffs. The Panthers travel to North Springs for a double-header. Game one is at 4 p.m. If necessary, North Springs will host a tiebreaker on Wednesday (Oct. 13).


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