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Portal softball puts on a show against Claxton
Portal pitcher Kari Carter faces down Claxton batters on Tuesday at Portal. The Lady Panthers won 13-1. Carter struck out seven and allowed no earned runs. - photo by Associated Press

    PORTAL — It was barely a contest Tuesday afternoon as Portal bats and gloves alike caught fire to blow Claxton out of the water.
    The Lady Panthers plated three in the first inning, scored five more in the second, and eventually walked off with a 13-1 victory in four innings.
    “We played solid in every aspect of the game,” Portal coach Travis Motes said. “The last few practices, we’ve changed things up. Things have been lighter and practices have been a little shorter. I think it kept our girls loose and they definitely responded today.”
    Keri Carter did her part both offensively and on the mound.
    The sophomore righty went the distance for the Panthers (6-13, 2-5 Region 3-A).
    Carter recorded seven strikeouts in the abbreviated four-inning game and allowed just one unearned run.
    “I had good defense behind me,” Carter said. “That makes it a lot easier to just throw strikes.”
    Portal didn’t need much more, thanks to its offense.
    Caitlyn Girardeau began the bottom of the first with a single off of Lady Tigers starter Sarah Morgan. Following a sacrifice by Faith Reddick, Girardeau scored on a wild pitch.
    Faith Oglesby added another single and Cheyenne Walker knocked in a pair with a single to center.
    Girardeau got the Panthers’ big second inning going with an RBI single that scored Dashonda Morgan.
    Carter followed with a two-run single to center and another Walker single made it 7-0. Hannah Allen brought home Portal’s eighth run with a ground out to put the game out of Claxton’s reach.
    “I thought we did a great job at the plate,” Motes said. “We put good swings on the ball and did a good job on the bases. Those are things we have been stressing. Just putting the ball in play and running well does so much to help you win.”
    Claxton took advantage of an error in the top of the fourth to plate its only run, but the Panthers rallied for five in the bottom half to put an early end to the game.
    Girardeau did the majority of the inning’s damage off of Tiger reliever Nia Palmer, sending a two-run double into the gap in right center.
    With the bases loaded and Palmer reeling, Carter and Oglesby both drew RBI walks to end the contest.
    Portal will try to keep up the momentum Thursday as the Panthers travel to Liberty County for a non-region matchup.

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.