There were times, however, like the fifth inning, where Mackey didn't think his young pitching staff could get the job done. Martinsburg sophomore Lauren Ostrowski cruised through the first four innings allowing only one run on two hits, but then the dark clouds rolled in.
Trailing 9-1 and batting in the bottom of the order, Hancock's bats came alive. The Panthers (1-2) strung together four hits, two walks and batted around in the order to score nine runs and take a 10-9 lead. Freshman Heidi Moats and junior Amanda Fleming recorded timely hits and knocked in two runs apiece.
"Jodie Ross had pitched well for us to that point," Hancock coach Kim Horvath said. "She only walked three batters and made Martinsburg work to manufacture those runs. Our defense played well enough to keep us in it, but Martinsburg is a good team."
Martinsburg immediately went to work in the top of the sixth. Leadoff hitter Jennifer Leonard singled and went to second on an error. Leonard then stole third and came home on an Erica Swartz sacrifice fly. Marla Spurgeon lined out to Ross to end the inning, but the Bulldogs had tied the game.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Panthers rallied. With one out, freshman right fielder Erica Winn rifled a single to left. She moved to second on a passed ball and used a Martinsburg miscue to take third with two outs. That brought senior Jenny Spade to the plate.
Spade laced a hard shot toward second base. Spurgeon, the Bulldogs' shortstop, ran six steps to her left, scooped up the ball and barely threw Spade out to end the inning.
The play seemed to motivate the Bulldogs. In the top of the eighth, Martinsburg scored three runs, and in the bottom of the inning, Ostrowski closed the door on the Panthers.