By Brandon Speck/Daily Journal
SALTILLO – Maddie Lukens didn’t contribute much to Saltillo’s win at Brookhaven on Friday.
In Game 2 on Saturday, she made up for it. Lukens’ fifth-inning RBI triple gave the Lady Tigers an insurance run in a 2-0 win in Game 2 of the Class 5A softball playoffs.
She moved a runner in the third inning that led to Saltillo’s first run.
Saltillo swept the best-of-three and advanced to the state quarterfinals.
“I did not play well yesterday and was really just wanting to hit the ball for my team and pick them up because they picked me up yesterday,” said Lukens, a junior.
Lukens had two of Saltillo’s four hits, plenty for pitcher Hallie Frenn.
Frenn improved to 13-4 after allowing only three hits, all of them slap bunts, two in the seventh inning. Brookhaven’s first hit came with one out in the sixth.
“You’ve got older kids picking young kids up and when they’re not, the young kids pick them up,” Saltillo coach Lee Buse said. “And I can’t say enough about Hallie in the circle. She was lights out.”
Both Saltillo runs came after leadoff walks, the only two Brookhaven eight grader Katherine Shell allowed. The Lady Tigers (17-5) scored first in the third after Abby Wade walked. Lukens moved her over, Brooke Lindsey singled and Frenn sent her home with a fielder’s choice.
In the fifth, Maggie Wiggington walked and scored on a triple by Lukens for a 2-0 lead.
Frenn threw 125 pitches in Friday’s 12-3 road win. Saturday she struck out six.
“It just speaks a lot about the kid, her heart and just her intensity and how she is about business out here,” Buse said. “It’s just amazing to watch her and we played good behind her. She’s carried us all year.”
Brookhaven (14-9) made it interesting in the seventh. After consecutive hits with one out, Frenn got an infield pop and a liner that Lukens snagged at short. Shell (3-1) took the loss.
“A couple of walks did us in and their pitcher did an outstanding job, said Brookhaven coach Chad Walker. “It just took us until the last inning to catch up with her.”