With Senior Night on the line, Western Hills’ softball team found a way to win.
WHHS pitcher Brooklyn Etherington had 15 strikeouts and Shelby Morris drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh as the Lady Wolverines rallied from a 3-0 deficit to a 4-3 win over Lincoln County Tuesday at WHHS.
“It meant a lot to get the game-winning hit on Senior Night,” Morris said.
Etherington and Lincoln County’s Gabby Gabriel were locked in a pitchers’ duel through the first four innings of the game
While WHHS had three baserunners during that span it wasn’t able to score. The Lady Patriots, meanwhile, were handcuffed by Etherington, who didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning.
It was the sixth inning before any runs were scored, and Lincoln led off the top of the inning by scoring three runs.
Gabriel hit a triple and scored on a double by Mary Beth Hogue. After a walk, an error on a fielder’s choice allowed another run to score, and the Lady Patriots’ final run of the game came home on a groundout to shortstop.
Western Hills answered quickly, scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
McKenna Brown led off with a single and was still at first with two outs when Morris reached on an error that allowed Brown to take third.
A base hit by Elizabeth Owens scored Brown, and Destiny Hyatt, running for Morris, went to third.
Hyatt scored on a passed ball and Owens went to third. Two straight walks loaded the bases, but Lincoln centerfielder Kristin Meece made a diving catch on a line drive for the third out.
“When you get a chance to see a pitcher, the more you see her the more comfortable you are at the plate,” WHHS coach Jeff Pritchett said.
“We had good plate discipline late in the game. We waited until we got a pitch we could hit, and that resulted in good solid hits.”
Lincoln (18-15) didn’t score in the top of the seventh, and WHHS got off to a tough start in the bottom of the inning with the first two batters out on a groundout and a strikeout.
Etherington reached on an error and Whitley Bardroff, running for Etherington, went to second on a wild pitch. Tabitha Barnes then drew a walk, and Morris followed with a double to score Bardroff and Barnes.
“It was a regular fastball right down the middle,” Morris said. “I was nervous, a little anxious, but I told myself I was going to hit it.”
Etherington and Gabriel both pitched complete games.
“I just wanted to win for our seniors and send them off on a good note,” Etherington said. “We’ve been hitting the ball really well. It’s kind of like we’ve all come together as a team. We’re not selfish anymore.”
The Lady Wolverines (17-16) have won five of their last six games.
“I’m real proud of this team from top to bottom,” Pritchett said. “They’re coming together. Brooklyn pitched a phenomenal game with 15 strikeouts. And with the exception of one inning we played good defense.”
Western Hills’ seniors this year are Owens, Sawyer Coffey and Alyssa Hensley. They were honored in a ceremony prior to the varsity game.
“What a way to send off our seniors,” Pritchett said. “All three have contributed a lot to our program. You saw our younger ones step up to send them off the right way and give them the opportunity to have a good senior night and to lead us into the post-season.”
Western Hills closes out the regular season today at Anderson County.