After splitting a pair of 1-0 extra-inning games on Saturday, the Palm Beach Atlantic Sailfish and Florida Tech Panthers met again Sunday, wrapping up their season with another doubleheader at Nancy Bottge Field. PBA swept the doubleheader with wins of 8-3 and 9-5.
It was the final game in the careers of Jordan Lawlis and Tina Velazquez Rolon, who were celebrated as part of Senior Day. They were the starting pitchers in Sunday’s games for the Panthers and Lawlis even got a rare at-bat in game two.
It was a tale of big innings for PBA as they won game one with a five-run fifth inning and game two thanks to a four-run ninth.
Velazquez Rolon was in the circle for game one opposed by Abbey Busby. The two squared off Saturday night as well.
Velazquez Rolon was very close to helping herself in the bottom of the first after Chloe French and Mikayla Lewin had back-to-back singles. Velazquez Rolon then slapped a single to right but French was thrown out at the plate trying to score.
That same part of the lineup did come through in the bottom of the third when Lewin’s single scored Cheyenne Nelson who singled earlier in the inning. French would hit a double in the inning and scored on a passed ball to make it 2-0.
The Sailfish broke through in the top of the fifth with Dallas Watterson driving in Maura Glatczak with a single. After an error loaded the bases, a passed ball brought the tying run home. One out later, Emma Gipson who was 3-for-39 coming into the game hit a bases-clearing double to give her team a 5-2 lead.
The Panthers got a run back in the sixth when Velazquez Rolon doubled and after Whitney Ellis was called on to pinch-run, she came home on an Ashley Campbell single.
Gipson would strike again in the top of the seventh. After a walk and double put runners at second and third, Gipson stepped up and took Velazquez Rolon deep, making it an 8-3 game and giving her six RBIs on the day.
For more info: PBA @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 1)
Velazquez Rolon went the distance in the circle allowing eight runs, seven earned on 10 hits. She struck out five and walked five, throwing 79 of her 129 pitches for strikes.
Game two saw a familiar pitching matchup as well, with Lawlis opposing Cambria Arturo. The Sailfish jumped out with a run in the first inning, thanks to Gipson’s fielder’s choice. They would add two runs in the top of the second on a Janie McCloskey two-run double.
The Panthers got a run in the second in an inning that started with a Velazquez Rolon single. Tori Szrom then appeared to reach on a fielder’s choice with Velazquez Rolon out at second. The play was disputed and Velazquez Rolon was ruled safe. Campbell would then bunt a ball into the air but it dropped and Szrom got to second, with Ellis coming around to score in place of Rolon.
The Sailfish (16-12, 12-10 SSC) would add a run in the fourth on a Watterson RBI double. The Panthers would cut the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the inning when Campbell would single home a run. She would be thrown out at second on the play.
Florida Tech (13-14, 10-12 SSC) evened things up in the bottom of the sixth, French singled and Peyton Anders was called on to pinch run. After a walk, Velazquez Rolon singled home Anders to make it 4-3. Campbell laid down a bunt later in the inning and Lewin got in just under the tag to tie the game at four. Jolie Miracle would then bring home Velazquez with a sacrifice fly, giving the Panthers a 5-4 lead.
A hit-by-pitch and two errors led to a run for PBA in the top of the seventh and after the Panthers loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame and couldn’t score, the Sailfish put the game away in the ninth with Faith Allen’s 2-run double, an RBI single by Meredith Milam and an RBI triple off the bat of Gipson. When all was said and done, the Sailfish were up 9-5.
Florida Tech would go quietly in the bottom of the ninth.
Lawlis gave the Panthers nine innings in the circle. She allowed nine runs, seven earned, and gave up 10 hits. She struck out five and walked two, throwing 157 pitches (89 strikes).
For more info: PBA @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 2)
This closes the book on the Panthers’ 2021 season. I would like to thank coach Val Silvestrini for her willingness to do phone interviews throughout what was a very different season. We would also like to send our best wishes to Jordan and Tina on their future.