By Melissa Meador
NETTLETON – It went down to the wire between two slow-pitch softball powerhouses on Tuesday night.
Down a rune in the bottom of the seventh, sophomore Brianna Holland’s two-run walkoff homer lifted Nettleton to a 4-3 win over Smithville.
“She’s a really good hitter,” Nettleton coach Dana Rhea said. “We’ve got a lot of really good hitters when we swing at good pitches and do things right. But for a sophomore to step up in that moment and get a hit like that, it’s huge.”
Nettleton (6-0) started out on top in the game when Brittany Adams and Taylor Smith each got first-inning hits, and Harley Tucker’s sacrifice fly made it a 1-0 lead.
Smithville (6-2) tied it up in the top of the second. Laken Armstrong doubled with one out and scored when Ashtyn Hensley reached on an error.
Nettleton pushed back ahead in the bottom of the frame when Jolie Parker tripled to the wall in left center to drive in Holland.
The two teams stayed scoreless until the top of the fifth when the Lady Noles plated a pair to take the lead. Katie King and Hensley led off with back-to-back hits. Hailey Hughey and Kaitlyn Scott at the bottom of the lineup each drove in runs with an RBI single and fielder’s choice respectively.
Smithville threatened to stretch its lead in the sixth with two outs when Armstrong, Katie Beth Williams and King got three consecutive hits, but a flyout ended the threat.
“That hurt there, and I should have walked Holland because we had a base open,” Smithville coach Jeremy Duke said. “But to come over here and give Nettleton, a 3A powerhouse, a run for their money, that shows our hard work is paying off.”
In the bottom of the seventh, Lauren Hall led off with a base hit and moved to second on an error before Holland lifted her two-run shot.