Lacro, Palo Verde battle back from early deficit for softball win

Palo Verde’s softball team wasn’t exactly set up for success Thursday.

The Panthers entered the Spring Jamboree at Majestic Park with a shrinking bench and a pitching staff that appeared to be depleted. An early 3-0 deficit in the opening game against Empire (Ariz.) didn’t help.

It also didn’t matter. Melissa Lacro pitched well, and Palo Verde’s bats came to life for a 7-3, five-inning victory.

“They finally played with heart and had each other’s backs,” Palo Verde coach Kelly Glass said.

Lacro began the season as the Panthers’ No. 3 pitcher, but is the top option this weekend with Rachel Williams and Kelsea Sweeney not likely to pitch again until league play starts next week.

Lacro pitched a six-hitter and mainly kept the Ravens’ hitters off balance after surrendering three early runs and stranding two runners in the second inning.

“She is just awesome,” Glass said of Lacro, who also was 3-for-3 with three RBIs to lead Palo Verde’s 13-hit attack.

Williams went 3-for-4 with an RBI, and Breanna Beatty was 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs for the Panthers, who have already suffered three tough losses, all by one run.

Palo Verde (6-3) was a hard-luck 1-0 loser to Centennial two weeks ago, and early in the season, dropped a 4-3 verdict to Cimarron in a game in which the Spartans had two hits.

“The past couple of weeks we have been working on pushing through any obstacles,” said Glass, whose team started to turn things around with an 11-8 win over Legacy on Saturday. “They’re gaining confidence and starting to show what they can do.”

The momentum continued into the Panthers’ second game, a 17-0 win over Long Beach (Calif.) Jordan. Sophomore Jenna Zuno, a call-up from the junior varsity, tossed a four-inning no-hitter.

Contact reporter Bartt Davis at bdavis@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5230.

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