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Ashley Holland hits one in the dirt.       Photos by Vickie CarpenterA phenomenal season for the Franklin High School Lady Panther’s softball came to an end on Tuesday when the team met Fred T. Foard High School in the third District round of the state playoffs. They did not go quietly, however, and it looked as though junior pitcher Chelsea Stanfield would continue her extraordinary streak, throwing a near shutout game, until in the tenth inning, when the other team took advantage of some defensive mistakes and pulled a 3-0 win.

Until that game, the team had gone undefeated in the regular season and went on to become the undefeated champions of the conference tournament.

“We had a season unlike any other that I’ve been a part of,” said head coach Penny Moffitt. “As we got deeper into the playoffs, we knew it would get more challenging. ... It came down to the little things, but you can’t let that overshadow what a great season we had.”

Amy Underwood digs in for the next pitch.Moffitt praised the leadership of seniors Laney Ledford, Cori Sellers and Jordan Pickens, who she said each brought a unique style of leadership to the team.

“The chemistry of this group of girls was unbelievable,” Moffitt noted. “As we got further into the playoffs, I really think the whole town of Franklin was talking about it.”

Pitcher Chelsea Stanfield started the game with F.T. Foard with a 0.36 ERA.More than 500 tickets were sold at the last home game, Moffitt noted. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a crowd like that,” she said, adding that she was very pleased that the community was so supportive.

While the team will miss its seniors, Moffitt says the team remains strong. She and assistant coaches Adam Tallent and Matt Bradley are looking forward to more action from the Lady Panthers in the future.Lady Panthers gather on the mound to discuss strategy at Friday’s game against Kings Mountain.Catcher Jordan Pickens

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