Panthers fall to Tipton in Sectional 39 semifinal

Coming off of their thrilling victory over Eastern, the Eastbrook Panthers’ 2019 campaign came to a halt on Wednesday evening in a 7-1 loss to No. 3 Tipton.

Just as they done all season long, the Panthers battled against one of the best teams in state, trailing by just one run through six innings of play. But Eastbrook’s lack of offense came back to haunt them again, as they were unable to find the equalizer.

“Tipton is a very good team, and I know our record doesn’t show it, but I think we are too,” Eastbrook Head Coach Harold Coates said. “It was 2-1 going into the bottom of the sixth going against a really good team, and they finally broke through. We knew going into it that it would be a heck of a challenge for us. It just didn’t turn out our way.”

McMillan provided Eastbrook’s lone tally off of a solo home run, while Ariel Duke and Helaina Walters also recorded hits for the Panthers. McMillan pitched six innings, giving up 11 hits and five earned runs while striking out six.

In a tough season, one where a lot of breaks did not go Eastbrook’s way, the Panthers gave it their all in each and every contest. Despite the losses, the Panthers did lose faith or become overwhelmed.

They just continued to put forth their best effort.

“I’m so proud of this group,” Coates said. “We played some really good teams on our schedule. The CIC is a very good conference, and we played many state ranked teams even outside of our conference. We competed, and tonight was no different. Our seniors did a great job of keeping us in it and showing some really good leadership.”

Wednesday night’s loss marked the final high school contests for McMillan, Duke, Walters, Kennedy Ross, and Erica Walker, each of whom played key roles in Eastbrook’s success.

“I told them I was proud of them,” Coates said. “I told them I appreciated everything they had done for our program. It will be really odd next year writing different names and different jersey numbers on the scorecard, but I’m so proud of them, and I [couldn’t have] asked anything more of the effort that they gave.”

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