Parkway shortstop Alyx Slusher (second left) congratulates pitcher Haley Hawk at the conclusion of a Lady Panther victory in this file photo dated April 13, 2017. Slusher homered on Thursday, and Hawk homered twice – including walk-off grand slam – as the Panthers run-ruled Marion Local. (DHI Media/Pat Agler/file)
Parkway shortstop Alyx Slusher (second left) congratulates pitcher Haley Hawk at the conclusion of a Lady Panther victory in this file photo dated April 13, 2017. Slusher homered on Thursday, and Hawk homered twice – including walk-off grand slam – as the Panthers run-ruled Marion Local. (DHI Media/Pat Agler/file)
ROCKFORD — The Parkway Lady Panthers welcomed the Marion Local Lady Flyers to Parkway High School on a windy Thursday night for Midwest Athletic Conference softball action. Parkway’s bats exploded in the later innings on Thursday night, putting up 10 runs in the final two frames for a 15-4 victory in six innings.

The Lady Flyers started the ball game with a Chloe Bertke base hit before Parkway pitcher Hailey Hawk retired the next two Marion Local batters. Unfortunately for the Lady Panthers, Marion Local collected four straight base hits including a two-run double from Maddie Griesdorn to give the Lady Flyers an early 3-0 lead.

The Lady Panthers got a run back in the bottom of the first as Mackenzie Sipe reached on a fielder’s choice. Hawk and Bailey Bates both singled later on. Hawk’s hit drove in Sipe to cut the Lady Flyers lead to 3-1.

Hawk faced no more than four Marion Local batters in any of the next five innings. She benefited from a good defensive play to end the top of the second. Sarah Fesenmyer double into the right field gap and, as Marah Moeller hustled around the base paths, Parkway right fielder Alyssa Miller threw a strike to second baseman Bates whose relay throw to catcher Alisa Gray nailed a sliding Moeller for the third out.

“They came out hitting the ball and with the wind the way it was if you squared it up, it was going to go,” Parkway head coach Mark Esselstein said. “Marion wasn’t trying to overdo anything. They were just putting the bat on the ball and finding holes, but we were able to make a couple nice defensive plays to get ourselves out of some innings; that was big for us. Then Hawk was able to settle down a bit.”

The Lady Panthers scored a run in the second as Bailey Strickler reached on a base hit and Miller’s RBI ground out brought the score to 3-2, Lady Flyers. The Lady Panthers scored two runs in the third and another run in the fourth to take a 5-3 lead.

The big inning for the Lady Panthers was the bottom of the fifth as Parkway sent 11 batters to the plate. Strickler opened the frame with a base hit and pinch hitter Mecalyah Hesse also picked up a hit. After an RBI ground out from Miller and a passed ball, the score was 7-3, Parkway.

Mackenzie Sipe singled through the left side of the Marion Local infield with two outs to start another rally for Parkway. The next two batters for the Lady Panthers went deep as Alyx Slusher hit a two-run bomb to center field, followed by Hawk, who hit a solo dinger, to extend the Parkway lead to 10-3.

Hawk’s homer was all she wrote for Marion Local pitcher Amber Schmitz as she was lifted for Emily Niefeld. Niefeld allowed one more Parkway run in the bottom of the fifth as the Lady Panthers had an 11-3 advantage.

“We didn’t wait like we could have on the Marion Local pitcher, but we have some good hitters and a lot of kids that can contribute, so you just think it’s a matter of time before we start swinging it the way we can and put some big innings together,” Esselstein said. “It was kind of frustrating a little bit because we kept scoring a run here and a run there, but we couldn’t get the big inning going until the fifth.”

The Lady Flyers got a run back in the top of the sixth, but the top of the Parkway lineup all reached base with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Macy Henkle and Sipe both singled and a five-pitch walk to Slusher loaded the bases for the clean-up hitter Hawk.

Hawk ended the ball game with one swing as her towering fly ball landed past the center field fence for a walk-off grand slam. Parkway run-ruled Marion Local 15-4.

Parkway improves to 10-1 on the year and 3-0 in the MAC. Marion Local drops to 5-8 on the season and 0-4 in the MAC.

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MARION LOCAL 4

Chloe Bertke cf 4-1-3-0, Marah Moeller 2b 4-0-0-0, Sarah Fesenmyer ss 3-0-1-0, Macy Griesdorn 3-1-1-1, Lexi Arling lf 2-1-1-0, Maddie Griesdorn rf 3-1-2-2, Emily Nietfield dh p Amber Schmitz 3-0-2-0, Ashley Schmidt 3b 2-0-0-0, Kara Evans ph 1-0-0-0, Lauren Sanders c 3-0-1-1, Total 28-4-11-4

PARKWAY 15

Macy Henkle lf 5-2-2-0, Mackenzie Sipe cf 4-3-2-0, Alyx Slusher ss 4-2-1-2, Haley Hawk p 5-3-5-7, Bailey Bates 2b 4-2-3-0, Alisa Gray c 4-0-1-0, Bailey Strickler 3b 4-2-3-0, McKenna Temple dh Lauren Henderson 1b 2-0-0-0, Mecaylah Hesse ph 2-1-1-0, Alyssa Miller rf 4-0-0-2 Total 38-15-18-11

Error: Marion Local (Moeller, Fesenmyer) Home Runs: Parkway 3 (Hawk 2, Slusher) Double: Marion Local (Maddie Griesdorn, Fesenmyer) LOB: Marion Local 8 Parkway 9

Marion Local 300 001 - 4 11 2

Parkway 112 164 - 15 18 1