Panthers complete series sweep, move into a tie for Big 5 lead

Photos by Cherie Fry Circe – McKinleyville’s Mashell Stumpf deliver a pitch against Fortuna on Monday.

The McKinleyville Panthers moved into a tie with Eureka atop the Big 5 softball standings on Monday after completing a three-game sweep of the Fortuna Huskies.

Thanks to some timely hitting and some strong defense, the Panthers won 9-1 and improved to 3-0 in league ahead of this week’s pivotal series against the Loggers.

The Panthers scored their nine runs on nine hits and turned a couple of rally-killing infield double plays, while pitchers McKennah Sargent and Mashell Stumpf held the Fortuna bats to just six hits.

“I was happy with how they played,” McKinleyville head coach Shanna McCracken said. “I was glad we got Mashell in there, and I thought she did a good job.”

Designated hitter Trinity Preston provided the offensive highlight of the day with a three-run home run, as the Mack girls took control of the game with four runs in the third inning and three more in the fifth on the way to opening up a 9-0 lead.

Sargent got the win in the circle, allowing five hits in five innings, while walking no one and hitting two batters with a pitch.

Stumpf threw the final two innings to seal the win.

Seven different McKinleyville players hit successfully in the victory, as the Panthers improved to 8-1 on the season.

The ever-dangerous Camryn Pinard finished 2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI, while Liana Stumpf continued her impressive freshman season and finished 2-for-3.

Sargent also made some noise at the plate and went 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI sac fly, while catcher Taya Gomes was 1-for-1 and also had a sac fly RBI.

Mashell Stumpf added a double, while Kennedy Minton was 1-for-2 with an RBI sac fly and Rebecca Barnett had an RBI walk.

Pinard at shortstop and Liana Stumpf at second base turned the two double plays.

Kylee Fennell continued to impress for Fortuna and finished 3-for-3 while also driving in the Huskies’ only run of the game in the seventh.

Isabel Sanchez also made some noise at the plate and was 2-for-4, while also pitching 3.2 hitless innings in relief and striking out six.

Libby Johnston added a double.

The loss was the third straight in the Big 5 for the Huskies, who had won all six of their pre-league games.

Both teams will be back in action on Wednesday.

The Panthers will host the Loggers with the league lead on the line, while the Huskies will travel to Crescent City to play Del Norte.

Both games are set for 4 p.m.

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