The defending Class 7A state champs were left utterly stunned.
In a Region 1-7A quarterfinal contest on Wednesday, the Milton Panthers (District 2-7A runner up) exploded for five runs in the first inning, while Megan Robertson scattered just three hits in a shocking 11-0 win for the Panthers.
“Going into (Wednesday night’s) game, you’re thinking this is going to be a 2-1 type of game,” Milton coach Kevin Jordan said. “I think from a confidence stand point, this win helped us tremendously.
“Tate has a great program, coach (Melinda) Wyatt does a great job and they have a great pitcher (Savannah Rowell). We knew that Tate would battle, but I thought we did a good job of keeping the pressure on.”
Six Panthers combined for 12 hits in the win, but it was freshman Alyssa Hudson who likely had the biggest shine (2-for-2) when she connected for a two-run homer in the first inning to set the tone for the Panthers.
“We start three freshmen and two sophomores on this team,” Jordan said. “But the (freshmen and sophomores) who start are good players and have been starters since day one. They certainly played beyond their years tonight. But Paige Brown – our only senior starter – had a good game for us as well.”
Robertson continued to keep the Aggies off balanced, mixing in three strikeouts accented by two walks.
When the Aggies would make contact, it seemed to frequently yield a fly out and the occasional ground out.
“Really, there weren’t any scares for me tonight,” said Robertson, who is committed to Jacksonville University as a sophomore. “I’m definitely confident in my defense. When Tate got runners on, I wasn’t worried that we would let them take advantage of that.”
The Panthers will direct their attention to the Niceville Eagles, who topped Milton three times this season (once in the 2-7A championship game) by one run.
“We can’t get a big head after this win, we have to stay humble and come out hitting again,” Robertson said. “We’ve gotta make plays and try not to make errors.”
For Tate, the Aggies will watch eight seniors graduate this year and aim for a strong rebound next season.
Milton 11, Tate 0
Milton…501 302 – 11 12 0
Tate…000 000 – 0 3 1
WP – Meagan Robertson (6 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 3 K, 2 BB); LP – Savannah Rowell (3 IP, 6 R, 6 H, 5 K, 2 BB). Milton (18-6) – Maddy Vasquez 1-2, 3 runs; Caroline Worrell 2-3, BB; Kelsie Hodges 3-4, 2 RBIs; Alyssa Hudson 2-2, 2-run homer; Ellis Willett 1-3; Paige Brown 1-3; Ashley Allen 2-3; Tate hitters – Rowell 1-3; Savannah Ulrich 1-3; Maddie Nelson 1-2.
•Who: Milton Panthers vs. Niceville Eagles
•What: Region 1-7A semifinals
•When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
•Where: Niceville High School