FORT PIERCE — Fort Pierce Lincoln Park Academy’s Madison Walsh made the most of her second chance.
Walsh hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning to lead Lincoln Park to a 2-1 win over Bishop Verot in a Region 3-4A quarterfinal Tuesday at the Lawnwood Softball Complex. It was the first home run of the season for Walsh.
“The pitch before was inside and it was so pretty and I though it was the third strike, but the umpire called it a ball,” Walsh said. “I just choked on that pitch. I couldn’t believe I let it go. One of the parents yelled, ‘Throw the same pitch.’ She did and I turned on it.
“I was running to first base thinking I would just run it out and then I saw (first base) coach Paul (Langel) leap about four feet in the air and I knew it was a home run.”
Walsh, a sophomore, came close to hitting a home run a couple times this season, but those balls ended up bouncing off the fence. This one just cleared the orange fence in right field.
“She’s been dropping that shoulder and I thought it was going to be a pop-up,” Lincoln Park coach Roger Mathews said. “All the sudden she lifted it. I thought it was going to stay inside the park but go over the right fielder’s head. The ball just kept carrying.”
Bishop Verot (16-8) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Erin Kyle and Nicole Rodriguez had back-to-back, two-out singles — the latter driving in pinch runner Amanda Higgins for the run.
Lincoln Park pitcher Taylor Strickland settled down after the first inning, allowing only two singles the rest of the game. She finished with six strikeouts and didn’t allow a Bishop Verot runner past first base the final six innings.
“We just didn’t hit,” Bishop Verot coach Pablo Plaza said. “She pitched a good game, but she was hit-able. We had the bats, but nobody hit. Hitting and defense is what’s important now. We didn’t hit and we had an error that cost us a run. If we don’t have that error, we’re still playing.”
The error — the lone error committed by either team — came after Lincoln Park’s Taylor Boykin hit a two-out triple to right field in the third. The throw from the outfield got past third baseman Tayli Filla, allowing Boykin to score the tying run.
Boykin was 3 for 3 with a triple, double and a run scored.
“I thought we played a little tight in the early goings, but that’s what pressure playoff softball is about,” Mathews said. “Taylor Boykin kept us going with that double and triple and using her speed. Then Maddie stepped up. Once we score that first run it gives us confidence that we can continue to score.”
Lincoln Park (20-4) will host the regional championship game at 7 p.m. Friday.