In the biggest series Stockbridge softball has seen in many years, the Panthers took two of three from GLAC leading Olivet this week to keep their hopes of a league title in reach.
Olivet entered the week undefeated in the GLAC with a 9-0 record, while the Panthers and Lakewood were 10-1.
The Eagles came to town Monday for a doubleheader and the Panthers took the opener 4-3.
Emily Breslin opened the scoring with a solo shot in the first inning. The lead grew to 2-0 in the second when Hannah Lockhart singled with one out. She moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Lena Jackson. Lockhart stole third and scored on a wild pitch for the 2-0 lead.
The Panthers made it 4-0 in the third with RBI singles by Paige Wooden and Hannah Gutting.
Olivet made a game of it with three runs in the fourth to make it 4-3. The Eagles put two runners on in the sixth, but Breslin got a strikeout to end the threat and would put them down in order in the seventh for the win.
Wooden finished with two hits and an RBI to lead the offense, while Lockhart added two hits. Breslin struck out 15 and allowed five hits in the circle for the win.
The nightcap saw Olivet strike for a run in the first, but the Panthers answered with RBI singles by Breslin and Lockhart for a 2-1 lead after one.
Breslin smacked her ninth home run of the season to make it 3-1 in the third.
Olivet battled back with a pair of runs in the fourth to tie it 3-3 and it would stay that way until the seventh. The Eagles started the inning with a double and would score on an error to make it 4-3.
Alexis Hightower doubled to lead off the bottom of the seventh and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Taylor Carey. After a strikeout, the Eagles intentionally walked Breslin and a pop out ended the game.
Breslin finished with two hits and two RBI and Lockhart a hit and RBI. Wooden, Hightower, and Michelle Zemke had the Panthers other hits. Breslin struck out eight on the mound.
Stockbridge traveled to Olivet Wednesday for the rubber match and it was a pitchers duel for the first for innings and Breslin and the Eagles Shayann Truax kept the game scoreless for the first three innings.
The Panthers broke through in the fourth scoring a pair of runs thanks to a pair of errors by Olivet.
Katelyn Knieper drove home Carey with a single in the sixth and Jackson smacked a home run in the seventh to make it 4-0.
Olivet rallied in the bottom of the seventh with a two-run homer to make it 4-2. A two-out single put the tying run at the plate, but Breslin got a strikeout to end it.
Knieper, Carey, and Jackson’s home run were the only hits for the Panthers. Breslin struck out 15 more Eagles and allowed just three hits.
The series win gives the Panthers a 12-2 record in the GLAC and dropped Olivet to 10-2. Lakewood is in first with a 10-1 record. Olivet and Lakewood play each other in a three-game series next week. Stockbridge still has a make-up remaining with Lakewood that is scheduled for May 30 at home in what could before the league championship.