MEDINA – Kaitlyn Martin pitched Friday evening for South Gibson’s softball team against county rival Milan, and she wasn’t too happy with the first inning.
At stake in the District 13-AA tournament was a chance to stay in the winner’s bracket and avoid elimination games Friday. With two outs in the top of the first, Milan’s Kendall Westbrooks homered to left field.
“Having a home run hit off you the first inning is kind of rough, but Kendall’s done that to me a lot,” Martin said with a smile. “And I give her credit — she’s a good hitter.”
But Martin is, too, and the junior University of Tennessee commit hit her own home run to right center in the sixth inning, off Milan’s Emily Bradford, to break a tie and propel South Gibson to a 4-2 win over Milan.
The rest of the district tournament will be held in Dyersburg. Milan must beat Crockett County at 1 p.m. Saturday to save its season, and the Lady Hornets will play a non-elimination game at 7 p.m. Saturday against a team to be determined,
“She’s come through for us several times. She’s hit several in her career,” South Gibson coach Rory Hinson said. “The Bradford girl from Milan does a great job of mixing it up and really had her number the first two times up. Obviously that was a huge shot. That was a no-doubter.”
An error helped South Gibson (13-10) add a run for a 4-2 lead in the sixth, but in the top of the seventh Milan loaded the bases with one out.
Sarah Ricketts popped up to Martin in the circle. A Lady Bulldog led too far off third base, and Martin threw over to third for a game-ending double play.
Milan (18-16) also loaded the bases in the third inning and didn’t score. Another bases-loaded spot in the fifth inning ended with Courtney Smith, who was hit by a pitch, scoring. The Lady Bulldogs tried to score a second run on a wild pitch but the runner was called out.
Milan coach Tim Jackson said he thought his runner “no doubt” was safe, but he acknowledged his team might have benefited from a questionable call a different time and also didn’t take advantage of its opportunities anyway.
“I’ve been doing this a long time, and I know three years that I’ve coached we lost our first or second game of the district tournament and we ran the table and ran through and ended up in the championship,” Jackson said. “So it can be done. I just want them to have that positive mentality.”
Taylor Benton homered for SGC in the second inning. Sydney Dozier was hit by a pitch to start the third inning and scored on Aly Walker’s single to right.
“Our thing is that we’re gonna peak at the end of the season, so we need to keep elevating our level of play,” Martin said.
Craig Thomas, 425-9634