Brownstown Central’s softball team may have been down a run, but it wasn’t out.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the third inning of Thursday’s Mid-Southern Conference game against Corydon Central, the Braves had back-to-back hits to spark the offense.
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They scored three runs in the inning to take the lead, added another run in the fifth and remained solid on defense for a 4-1 victory.
“The leadoff hits really get everybody into a great mood,” Braves junior pitcher Jami Bryant said. “They say hitting is contagious, and it’s really true. As soon as you see one person hitting, you just want to rally and keep it going.”
Corydon opened the game with a run on one hit and an error in the top of the first inning, but Brownstown buckled down on defense to strand two Panthers on base.
The Braves’ No. 9 hitter, sophomore Kaitie Taggart, led off the bottom of the third with a grounder past the shortstop. Senior leadoff hitter Beth Wayman then came up with a hit to left field.
Following a strikeout, senior Katelyn Gray drew a walk, Bryant’s ground ball deflected off of the pitcher’s glove to score a runner and load the bases and then sophomore Rilee Robinson brought in two more runners with a single up the middle.
Bryant said she was glad to see the early deficit not affect the team’s play.
“We’ve learned to kind of get over it if we’re down a little bit because we know we can come back,” she said. “We know we’ve got the hitters to do it, so even if it’s just a couple of runs, we know we can come back.”
Three of Corydon’s first four batters in the top of the fourth had hits to load the bases with one out. A ground out to Bryant in the circle and a nice catch in center field by Wayman ended the threat.
In the top of the fifth, Robinson was sharp on defense with all three outs at shortstop.
Then in the bottom half of that inning, Gray had a one-out double, Bryant followed with a single and Robinson had an RBI hit to make it a 4-1 game.
“Rilee Robinson, she has been playing real well at shortstop not only on defense, but she has been putting the ball in play,” Braves coach Monte Ault said. “She made some real nice plays there at shortstop.”
Eight of the nine Braves registered at least one hit in the game.
“We carried over from our defense. Our defense played real well,” Ault said. “I thought we did a real good job overall as a team. When you get a hit from your No. 9 and 8 and 7 and all the way down the line, and your pitching and your defense (are good), you’re going to win some games.”
The team has eight underclassmen, and Ault said they are coming along.
“I think our younger girls are starting to feel a little more comfortable at the plate and also fielding,” he said. “I knew it was going to take some time for them to feel comfortable and face varsity pitching, but they are coming along, they are working hard in practice and they are getting better. That’s what we want them to do, try to get better so we’ll be playing our best ball at sectional time.”
Bryant had a strong night in the circle, striking out four, walking one and giving up seven hits in seven innings of work.
“I don’t think that’s just me,” she said. “I think it’s everybody. When we all have tight defense, I think it makes everybody play better. When you see one person do good — like Rilee made some really great plays at short — everybody else wants to do the same.”
The Braves improved to 4-9 overall and 3-2 in the MSC.