By Thomas Sellers Jr.
ARLINGTON — In a season adjusting to injuries and working in three new pitchers, the Millington Lady Trojans overcame obstacles to earn a fourth seed in the 2013 District 14-3A Softball Tournament.
On Thursday, the Lady Trojans got off to a good start beating the Cordova Lady Wolves 16-1 on the Arlington Softball Field.
“I know my team has had its struggles,” Lady Trojan senior Casey Tarwater noted. “But we’ve grown a lot. We’ve learn to play with each other and where to go.”
Millington seniors Tarwater and Pauline Pagulayan knew where to go in the second inning increasing the Lady Trojans’ 6-1 lead. With two pass balls, the speedsters crossed home plate to make the score 7-1.
At the plate watching Tarwater and Pagulayan score was junior slugger Daija Brunson. With the bases empty, Brunson crushed a triple 210 feet on the 225-foot field. Next to the plate was Emily Stewart with a triple down the line making the score 8-1. Millington was ahead 9-1 after two innings.
Millington starter Ally Hall took to the rubber with a comfortable advantage. Despite facing a couple or rough spots in the third inning, Hall was able to keep the Lady Wolves scoreless ending the frame with a strikeout.
Tarwater said that K was an illustration of Hall’s maturity through the season. The senior catcher knew coming into the season she would have to step up her leadership role working with pitchers Hall, Rebecca Smart and Alex Ballard.
“Talking and just letting everybody know were the play is, how many outs we have,” Tarwater said became an additional part of her game, “just to calm them down when things get rough. I calm Rebecca down and talk to her when she gets excited. And I talk to Ally too. It’s pretty much talking to everyone.”
Tarwater didn’t have to do much talking to Hall in the win over Cordova. Hall seemed to settle down on her own and threw pitches in the strike zone allowing her defense featuring infielders like Katie Dupree and Ariel Trice do their job.
“I felt she did great,” Tarwater said of Hall. “She’s really grown from the first time I’ve met her in conditioning. She’s pitching a lot better. She’s a lot faster. She’s throwing a lot harder. A little work over the summer, I think she’ll get there. She’ll be good.”
Hall’s solid performance on the mound set up the Lady Trojans to end the game via the mercy rule in the third inning. Millington needed 7 runs for victory.
Lady Trojan Devin McSwain was responsible for three of those runs with a single making the score 15-1. McSwain later advanced to third base. And on a wild pitch she crossed home to end the game and help the Lady Trojans advance in the winner’s bracket.
“By us winning today, I think it will really boost our confidence to where we know we can hit against whoever we play,” Tarwater concluded. “We can move on if we believe in ourselves and we play smart. That’s the key thing for us, we must play smart.”