Prattville Christian donned mouse ears after last year’s Class 3A softball championship.

For the Panthers to repeat, they’ll need hard hats.

PCA’s 5-3 loss to Wicksburg on Wednesday afternoon meant the Panthers needed to win five straight games to win a title.

The string started with a game Wednesday night against Pleasant Valley, with four games on tap Thursday. A loss in any ends the season.

“It’s going to be rough to get through it,” senior third baseman Carolyn Carter said, “but I have confidence in our team to get through anything.”

The Panthers (43-8-1) took a more direct route to last year’s championship, winning all four games they played.

“We’re going to fight back,” sophomore pitcher Landyn McAnnally said. “We’re not giving up.”

Prattville Christian’s Landyn McAnnally (24) throws the ball toward first base during the Class 3A state tournament in Montgomery, Ala., on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Wicksburg defeated Prattville Christian 5-3.

On Wednesday, PCA beat Plainview 3-1 in eight innings — Carter hit a game-ending two-run home run — before the Wicksburg loss.

“We have to do it the hard way now,” PCA coach Randy Stough said. “We’re going to keep battling. We still have confidence in ourselves.

“We just picked a bad time to have a bad game.”

Wicksburg team celebrates after defeating Prattville Christian during the Class 3A state tournament in Montgomery, Ala., on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Wicksburg defeated Prattville Christian 5-3.

Carter, who has 11 home runs this season, stands out on defense due to a lack of a facemask. It almost seems like standard equipment for high school infielders, particularly third basemen.

“Some do. Some don’t,” Stough said. “It’s whatever they grew up doing.”

Carter, when she was younger, wore one before being moved to the outfield. When she moved back to third, she kept a bare-faced look.

“I don’t own one,” Carter said. “I have confidence I can catch the ball before it hits me.”

Luverne’s Keyla Johnson catches a pop up against Leroy in the AHSAA Softball Championships at Lagoon Park in Montgomery, Ala., on Wednesday May 15, 2019.

Luverne 0-2 in state debut

Freshman Keyla Johnson reached base four times and scored twice for Luverne in its two losses Wednesday in the 2A state tournament.

The Tigers (23-17) were playing in a state tournament for the first time. They lost 10-4 to Sand Rock and 10-0 to Leroy.

Eighth-grader Trinity Forte’ had two RBIs and scored twice, while freshman Aniyah Burnett reached base three times and knocked in a run.

Luverne had just one senior on its roster (A’mya Jackson) and two juniors.

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