NETTLETON – Hamilton escaped one jam but couldn’t escape another as Makenzie Hawkins’ rocket shot to short plated Nettleton teammate Anna Kent in the bottom of the eighth inning in a 3-2 win Monday night to keep the Lady Tigers unbeaten.
“It’s a very good win. We just didn’t hit the ball the way we were supposed to,” Nettleton coach Chris Kidd said. “We had way more opportunities early in the game that we should have capitalized on, rather than wait until extra innings.”
Nettleton (10-0) had to fight back from a 2-0 hole, tying it on Jessi Patterson’s RBI single in the fifth inning.
Hamilton (6-7) took a 2-0 lead in the third inning behind an RBI single from Anna Imel and an RBI sacrifice fly from Addie Thompson.
“The girls played a great game. It was a great game both sides,” Hamilton coach Jason Cobb said. “Nettleton is great defensively and great offensively. It’s hard to lose but I guess if there ever were a moral victory, this is a good one.”
Nettleton scored its first run in the bottom of the third inning when Hayley Parker tripled and scored on Hawkins’ fielder’s choice.
Hawkins and Nettleton combined for four of Nettleton’s nine hits. Michele Hester had two more. Imel had two of Nettleton’s four hits against the winning pitcher, eighth-grader MariAnna Young.
“They’ve been around and been tested for four and five years,” Kidd complimented the top of his lineup. “Those young kids are doing the best they can but the seniors and Makenzie need to be doing their part.”
In the bottom of the seventh, Cobb walked Hester and Patterson to load the bases and Imel got a hard groundout back to her and starter Lexus Jordan came back in to strike out Anna Kent.
After Young got out of the top of the eighth scoreless, Kent started the bottom on second base per international tiebreaker rules. Lauren Baldwyn advanced Kent to third on a groundout and with two outs and Parker was intentionally walked to put Hawkins at the plate.
• Game summary, Page 2B
Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal