By Thomas Sellers Jr.
ARLINGTON — The Brighton Lady Cardinals appeared to be losing to the opening-day jitters and Arlington Lady Tigers March 15.
Behind 3-0 in the top of the seventh inning on the Arlington Softball Field, the Lady Cardinals were down to their final out with Ta’mya Johnson at the plate. The Brighton players were trying to keep the spirit up in the dugout during Johnson’s plate appearance.
Then out of thin air, Lady Cardinal Marisa Moss unleashed a burp that broke the tension in the visiting dugout. As all the Brighton players begin to laugh, Johnson stroked a double to the outfield to spark a two-out rally.
The Lady Cardinals scored five runs in their half of the inning. And the comeback was complete when senior hurler Seeley Layne shutdown the Lady Tigers to help Brighton prevail 5-3 in the opener.
“Going back to last year, we’re still young,” Brighton Head Coach Robin Jacobs said. “Those are sophomores out there. We have a bunch of 10th graders out there. So we had four base running errors that cost us four runs. They kept fighting and hanging in there. We were hitting the ball well but they just made some great plays on us.
“We kept hitting and finally hit to where they weren’t,” he continued. “And our senior came up and I thought the ball was out of here. But it was right up against the fence and she knocked in the winning run. She came in and finished the seventh inning like she’s supposed to.”
The Lady Cardinals needed a comeback to set the table for Layne picking up win No. 1 of the season. The senior hurler fell behind 3-0 in the fourth inning when Arlington’s Kendall Lee jacked a two-run homer.
After Lady Tiger pitcher Taylor Manley recorded the first two outs in the seventh inning, it appeared Arlington was poised to pick up win No. 1 on the season over its Region rival.
Then Brighton produced two big sounds. First it was Moss’ belch, followed by the sound of Johnson’s bat smacking the yellow softball to the outfield.
Johnson stood on second base giving her teammate Gracie Poirier. She reached base on an error.
With two runners on the base path, Haley Rider drove the ball into the field of play scoring Johnson and Poirier to make the score 3-2.
Then Layne crushed the ball to centerfield 224 feet off the wall to score Rider and tie the contest at 3-3.
After Layne’s double, it was time for Moss to make some noise — again. The junior standout hit a double to give Brighton lead scoring Layne.
Brighton’s Currie McIntyre added an insurance run driving in Moss.
The Lady Cardinals were ahead 5-3 going into Arlington’s half of the seventh inning. The Lady Tigers couldn’t solve Layne in that frame. The Brighton ace struck out two Arlington players to lock up the win.
Jacobs noted it took that rally, Layne stepping up and great defensive plays through the game to earn the first victory. Brighton’s Haley Simpson had several shinning moments at second base making a diving stops and catches.
“We’ve got a good team but our schedule is demanding like that,” Jacobs concluded. “We’ll just going to try to win all the games we can.”