PLENTY TO CELEBRATE: Pikeville players celebrate following Lindsey Lockhart’s three-run homer in the 15th Region championship game against Johnson Central. Below, Erika Conn is shown at the plate. Conn had three hits, including a home run and double as the Lady Panthers defeated the Lady Eagles, 11-4. Pikeville won its first championship since 2002.
Medical Leader | Photos by TEDDY PAYNTER

15th Region Softball Championship: Pikeville leaves no doubt in title game

Teddy Paynter

BUCKLEYS CREEK — Pikeville High School’s softball program has waited a long time for this moment.


The Lady Panthers used a six-run, sixth inning to pull away from three-time defending 15th Region champion Johnson Central, leaving little doubt in an 11-4 at Pike County Central High School on June 1.


Pikeville, now 30-6, won its first regional championship since 2002, advancing to play Madisonville-North Hopkins yesterday at Jack C. Fisher Park in Owensboro.


The Lady Panthers finished as state runner-up earlier this season in the All “A” Classic.


Johnson Central, which saw its season end 17-10, was playing in its seventh consecutive title game and eighth in the past 10 seasons.


This marked the fourth meeting between the two teams this season. In three regular-season games, a combined six runs decided the outcomes.


The Lady Panthers took an early lead and never looked back. Outfielder Lindsey Lockhart belted a three-run homer on the fence in centerfield to push Pikeville up 3-0. It came just one batter after it appeared winning pitcher Erika Conn had homered over the fence in left but it was ruled foul.


Conn, who was tabbed the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, had an RBI single in the top of the third inning to extend the lead to 4-1.


The Lady Eagles cut the deficit to a pair of runs in the home third when Abi Fannin delivered an RBI single.


Conn smashed a solo home run in the fifth to put the Lady Panthers up 5-2. She finished with three hits in the win.


Johnson Central had its chance in the bottom of the inning, but Pikeville’s defense cut down a pair of baserunners at home.


Pikeville broke the game open on Conn’s two-run double in the sixth and a two-run single off the bat of Cassidy Lowe. Emily Hughes’ RBI single capped off the six-run frame.


Fannin belted a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh to cap the scoring for the Lady Eagles.


Alexis Stanley, Savanna Nunemaker and Camryn Slone were all-tournament selections from Pikeville while losing pitcher Micailyn Pierce, Alaina Castle and Fannin were chose from JC.




At Pikeville


(15th Region championship)




PK (30-6)….....................301 016 0 – 11-15-2


JC (17-10)…....................011 000 2 – 4-10-3




WP – Erika Conn


LP – Micailyn Pierce


Hitting: Erika Conn HR, 2b, 1b, 2r, 4 RBI; Lindsey Lockhart 3-r HR; Cassidy Lowe 2r-1B; Emily Hughes 1b, 1 RBI, Pikeville; Abi Fannin 2r-HR, 1b, 3 RBI, Johnson Central.