The Lady Panther softball team finished the Michelle Carew Classic 1-4 after falling 7-0 to West Ranch High out of Valencia, Calif.
Worse than finishing the tournament 1-4 was the loss of senior pitcher Krissy Fortner, who left Saturday's game after three innings with what was diagnosed as a bruised throwing hand.
Fortner sustained the injury while hitting.
“We're hoping she'll be good to go by district,” said PV head coach Kevin Werth. “We'll get it evaluated more thoroughly when we get back and hope we get some better news.”
In Fortner's three innings of work Saturday, she surrendered three runs. She was relieved by freshman Megan Risner in the circle.
Risner gave up three earned runs in four innings.
“Risner came in and got some invaluable experience and held her own,” Werth said.
Werth is confident Risner can help carry the load while Fortner's hand heals.
“After facing a lineup like she did today and performing the way she did, we feel comfortable with her in the circle, along with other pitchers like Tegan Woosley, Jordan Montoya and Breanna Salas,” Werth said. “If we have to pitch by committee, I'm perfectly fine with that. I have confidence that they will all do their job when called upon.
The loss of Fortner adds to PV's injury woes. Junior Makayla Duncan has been sidelined since she was injured in the Las Cruces tournament on March 15.
Werth also hopes to have Duncan back when the District 1-4A schedule begins on April 19 at Kirtland Central.
When PV (12-5) does reach the district season, he knows his team will be prepared, especially after playing five tough games in California.
West Ranch High featured six Division I commits in the starting lineup.
“How that team lost twice is beyond me. I thought they were the best team we faced out here,” Werth said.
Earlier in the tournament, PV dropped 1-0 games to El Toro High out of Lake Forest, Calif., and Righetti High out of Santa Maria, Calif.
PV's lone win in the tournament came on Friday when the Lady Panthers defeated Poway High out of San Diego 4-2.
PV eventually fell short against Trabuca Hills out of Mission Viejo, Calif., on Friday in a 6-4 game.
Werth is still sitting at 299 career wins and will have a chance to take No. 300 next Friday night at La Cueva.
John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.