By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal
NETTLETON – Someone told Jessica Patterson after Thursday’s Class 3A quarterfinal game against Corinth that they were surprised the Lady Warriors decided not to walk her with two on and one out in the bottom of the eighth.
Her reply, “Why? They saw me strike out and fly out.”
Not in her fourth at-bat. Tied at 3, Patterson drilled a leftfield double over a drawn in defense with runners at second and third to send the defending champion Lady Tigers to a 5-3 win.
“I was terrified,” Patterson said. “I hadn’t got a hit all day.”
She got the final hit though, after two comebacks. The series will conclude Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. in Corinth.
Nettleton (23-2) trailed 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth. Corinth (17-10) went up a run with the international rule in play. Claire Palmer started the inning at second base. Portia Patterson then reached on one of four uncharacteristic Nettleton errors as Palmer took third and scored on Ebria Powell’s flyout.
Hayley Parker started the bottom of the inning by reaching second and scored on Holly Schlicht’s hard-hit bunt that went untouched as Parker scored. Heather Noe bunted Schlicht to second. Katie Leach singled and took second on the throw and Patterson did her damage after an 0 for 3 start.
“She’s been swinging it extremely well in practice,” Nettleton coach Chris Kidd said. “She got a good pitch and hit that one well. I don’t know that I have a player that I don’t feel can get that runner in.”
Leach put Nettleton ahead in the first inning after back-to-back doubles with Noe. It took Corinth 41⁄3 innings to hit winning pitcher Michele Hester (21-0), who struck out five and allowed only four hits. In the fifth, Jakebia Keith blooped Corinth’s first single to right and took second on a throwing error. Rebekah Williams reached on the inning’s second error and Palmer’s well-placed bunt loaded the bases.
Hester got a popout to catcher Noe before Portia Patterson’s two-run single on a 3-2 pitch. Hester tagged Palmer out at the plate to end the inning on a relay from Leach in left, but Corinth led 2-1.
Nettleton tied it in the seventh. Pinch hitter Korie Beth Leach blooped a single between colliding Janina Kirk and Keith and took second. Haydden Payne advanced pinch runner Sydney Clayton to third. Clayton scored on Hester’s right side groundout to tie the game at 2.