JMA softball

A subpar hitting performance kept the John Milledge Academy softball team from getting a win on Senior Day Tuesday. 

The Lady Trojans lost their region ballgame to the visiting Briarwood Lady Bucs in a 3-2 final score. 

Normally reserved for the final home game of the season, John Milledge moved up its Senior Day ceremony due to the uncertainty surrounding this season. JMA seniors Cadence Bandows, Brayden Latimer, Taylor Prestridge and Olivia Rhodes were all honored on the field prior to the game with their families. 

That celebration did not roll over into game action, though. It was a dismal performance at the plate for the Lady Trojans as they had just three base hits throughout the entire contest. First-year head coach Sydney Lack discussed her team’s offensive struggles after the loss. 

“We can’t sit here and rely on three hits to win a game,” Lack told The Union-Recorder after Tuesday’s loss. “We can’t rely on two people in the lineup to get on base and make a difference.”

The top of the first inning saw Briarwood strike early with a few base hits and a run. Setting the tone right away, Briarwood pitcher Madison Kay shut out the Lady Trojans with three quick strikeouts in the bottom of the opening frame. Kay would rack up an impressive 12 strikeouts on the day.

However, the Lady Trojans did not go down without a fight. In the second inning, Prestridge walked and eventually scored off of a bunt from freshman Ella Hudgins. Still, the Lady Trojans struggled to find a base hit from anyone in the lineup. Strikeout after strikeout had the home team’s offense out of sorts.

Backing up their dominant pitching, Briarwood continued to put pressure on the John Milledge defense with some big hits over the third and fourth innings. The Lady Trojans held their ground with some huge plays in the infield, including an impressive snag at third base from junior Avery Barton. JMA’s defense kept them in striking distance, but a few costly errors in the fifth inning gave Briarwood some momentum.

The fifth frame got off to a rocky start for the home team as Briarwood’s Taylor Vanhouse was hit by a wild pitch before stealing two bases and tallying a run for her squad. Two more hits followed, and the Lady Trojans barely escaped a multiple-run inning from their opponents.

At the bottom of the sixth, the home team picked up some steam as JMA senior Olivia Rhodes reached on an error and eventually took home to tie up the contest. However, the crowd favorites would be disappointed soon after.

At the top of the game’s final frame, Vanhouse did it again for Briarwood. She walked and stole second base before notching the go-ahead run, her second of the day. A fruitless at-bat followed for the Lady Trojans as they fell in dramatic fashion. 

Coach Lack said that she was looking forward to spending the next three days practicing without a game before their Saturday makeup against Edmund Burke Academy.

“I’m glad about that because we can spend more time in the batting cages and get more looks at some pitches,” she said. 

The Lady Trojans will look to bounce back at home Saturday against region opponent Edmund Burke. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. on the JMA softball field. 

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