As the 11th season for the JRF Panthers Softball Team is about to start in less than a month, we take a look at the 10 most memorable games of the past decade. We say memorable because unfortunately there hasn’t been much winning. Take a look at the list below. Let us know any games you think we missed.
#10- Big John’s Big Hit in Regular Season Loss Verse Kemp- Unfortunately, we don’t remember the exact season but this game was 3-4 years ago. Keith Kemp-like always was a top of the division. To the surprise of many, the JRF Panthers had an early lead in this game. Kemp eventually came back to take the lead. In the top of the last inning, down one, the Jrf Panthers had players on second and third with two outs. Needing a big hit the unlikeliest of heroes came to the plate. Playing due to the JRF Panthers being shorthanded, Big John did not disappoint, blasting a 2 run double over the left-center fielders head, clapping his hands and pointing to the sky as he turned to approached second base. The JRF Panthers would go on to lose this game in the typical fashion we have grown accustomed to seeing, but Big Johns big hit and pointing to the sky will be a moment we will never forget.
#9- Loss to Johnny and Hons in the 2017 Playoffs- Based on the regular season no one expected the JRF Panthers to make it as far as they did. Though they lost to the eventual champions, the JRF Panthers did not disappoint in their performance. Constantly battling back and forth with Johnny and Hons all game, the Panthers came within one run of advancing. Who knows how this game may have turned out if the team wasn’t gassed heading into the game. Nothing less, it was a solid performance.
#8- Upset of Team Outkast in 2016 “Everybody Hits” Charity Tournament-The JRF Panthers upset the number 1 seed Outkast to advance to the championship game of the charity tournament. Though the team lost in the championship game, and it was just a charity tournament, it was the first ever trophy the team had received.
#7-OCMD Tournament Final Game- The Ocean City, Maryland tournament trip was memorable outside the games but even on the field it had its moment too. To say the JRF Panthers were not ready for the level of competition they were about to face was an understatement. Playing in a USA league and participating in a USSSA tournament, the team barely had any eligible bats. The first two games of the tournament, the team did not even score a run getting mercy-ruled in both games. By the time the third and final game came around, most of the team just wanted the tournament to end. They were tired and just wanted to enjoy the beach life. It wouldn’t be that easy. The Panthers ended up scoring their first runs of the tournament and jumped out to an early lead, confusing the other team making them believe the JRF Panthers were actually good. As you can imagine when the other team asked how the JRF Panthers tournament was going and they were told that those were the first runs JRF panthers had scored all day, the other team was pissed. The other team would go on to win but barely. The outcome of the game was expected, but nothing else went according to plan.
#6-Teeth Knocked Out and Stitches in the Head Game- In 2014, a matchup between JRF Panthers and One Bad Inning was not supposed to be an exciting game. Who knew the drama that would ensue, early in the game one of the One Bad Inning batters lost control of the bat while swinging hitting Derek Evans the JRF Panthers catcher in the head and knocking out the teeth of the umpire. Both Derek and the ump would have to go to the hospital. Derek had to get stitches and was diagnosed with a concussion, meanwhile, the ump had to receive emergency dental surgery. The game had to be delayed and rescheduled. The JRF Panthers would go on to win the makeup game. Still, this is a moment the JRF Panthers team will never forget.
#5- Final Game of 2014 Newville Tourney- Like usual the JRF Panthers were outmatched by their competition. After being promised they would be in the EE bracket, they found out they were in the E bracket once they arrived at the tournament, being told they could not participate in the EE bracket until the tournament director saw them play. The first three games were brutal. The JRF Panthers got mercy-ruled all three games. To make it worse the team had to play the number 1 seed in the tournament the first round of playoffs. A team that had recently destroyed them earlier in the tournament and had state qualifying aspirations. After lots of beer drinking in the parking lot before the game, the JRF Panthers played like the Angels in the Outfield. They were up 19-3 at one point. Yes, you read that right… 19-3!! In typical JRF Panthers fashion, the other team would come back to win 24-19. A disappointing loss but an unbelievable effort to say the least. JRF panthers had no right to even be on the field with that team that day. This game made the tournament director tell the JRF Panthers After the game, the director of the tournament said “He had seen enough and the team would NOT be allowed to play EE going forward”.
#4-2017 Playoff Win vs BNJ- Up to 2017, the JRF Panthers never had a win against one of the leagues top 5 teams in the playoffs. That would change on this day. The Panthers jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in route to a fairly easy win. This would end up starting a great run the Panthers would end up going on for the day.
#3-2017 Playoff Win vs Crushers- As big as the win was against BNJ for the JRF Panthers, this win was even bigger. The Crushers had the league’s best record heading into the playoffs and ambitions to win the league title. Though not at full strength they still had a solid squad this day. The JRF Panthers came to play as their bats stayed hot in a 22-11 victory.
#2-First Ever Playoff Win– As of 2014, the JRF Panthers never had a playoff win. They had come close many times but could never seal the deal. This was a game the JRF Panthers were supposed to win as they were playing against One Bad Inning, a team that finished below them in the standings this year. Despite the JRF Panthers being a better team, this win would not come easy. This was to no surprise, being the JRF Panthers felt they had to eliminate their playoff course. They did just that and in a thrilling fashion as John Cassady caught the ball at home plate and tug the runner for the final out in what was a nail biter. We should have expected nothing less when it came to how the JRF Panthers got there first playoff win.
#1-2014 Playoff Loss to Keith Kemp– This may have been a loss but may arguably be the most impressive game the JRF Panthers ever played. Keith Kemp the 2014 eventual champions, were given everything they could handle by the JRF Panthers. They gave them a fight no one expected. Down 3-0 in the first inning with no outs, Derek Evans of the JRF Panthers made a pitching change that not everyone approved of at the time. On the very next pitch after the pitching change, Keith Kemp hit into a triple play. The JRF Panthers would hold Kemp scoreless the rest of the way and score three runs to tie up the game and head to extra innings. In the top of the 9th inning, Zachary Reitz, now a member of Keith Kemp and former member of the JRF Panthers hit a go-ahead double to put the Panthers up 4-3. Keith Kemp would end up winning the game in the bottom of the 9th inning on a close play at second base. Regardless of the outcome, this game was a surprise to everyone and will always be a classic in JRF Panthers history.