The John Milledge Academy softball team was rewarded for its clean defense in Wednesday’s region opener.
The Lady Trojans played a perfect game in the field en route to a 6-0 victory against the Lady Jaguars of Thomas Jefferson Academy. JMA senior pitcher Brayden Latimer threw another gem, striking out 16 TJ batters while walking only two. The Lady Jags of Louisville collected just two hits and reached base on only two other occasions when Latimer hit a couple of batters. The John Milledge hurler and her infield may have felt the need to be near-perfect as they were playing without their entire starting outfield behind them.
“I thought we did well for the situation we were in,” first-year JMA softball coach Sydney Lack said after the win. “I’m really proud of how we reacted and how we played.”
Lack had two eighth-graders and a sophomore step up into the outfield roles Wednesday to fill in for the missing starters, and the head coach was not disappointed.
“They did everything I asked them to do at the plate and in the field, so I couldn’t have asked for anything else,” added Lack.
Offensively, the Lady Trojans got right to work in the top of the first inning. Senior shortstop Olivia Rhodes led off with a double off the centerfield fence that was only about a foot away from being a leadoff solo shot. She was brought home two spots in the order later thanks to the bat of junior Avery Barton, who yanked a triple down the left-field line.
John Milledge took that 1-0 lead into the second where Latimer struck out the side for the first of three times on the day. The bottom of the Lady Trojan order helped the home team plate two runs in the second, but the real cherry on top of Wednesday’s winning effort came in the fifth.
With her team up 4-0, Rhodes led off the fifth with a single and stole second before advancing to third on a fielder’s choice. Turns out, it didn’t matter which base she was standing on because two batters later Barton banished the ball beyond the left-field fence for a homer that had the JMA dugout declaring it gone as soon as it left the bat. The junior third baseman finished 3-for-3 with three RBIs, just a double short of the cycle. She never even got the chance to go for it as she was on deck when the Lady Trojans were sat down in the bottom of the sixth.
Latimer walked two in the top half of the seventh but left those runners there as she struck out the side to finish off the win.
As the region opener, Wednesday’s win served as the biggest game up to that point in the season for John Milledge softball. That honor initially belonged to the scheduled Aug. 20 matchup at Westfield, but that game had to be moved due to weather.
The JMA girls advanced to 2-0 in region play Thursday when they beat Brentwood 4-0 on the road.
The Lady Trojans are scheduled to return to the field Tuesday when they host Edmund Burke Academy. First pitch in that game is set for 4 p.m.