By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Behind the pitching of sophomore Brett Wilkins, the defense of players like Chase Kidd and Eli Davis and a big second inning of offense, the Brighton Cardinals clinch the 2016 District 13-3A regular-season championship.
Head Coach Michael Wickersham witnessed all those elements coming together Monday night on the Brighton Baseball Field leading to an 8-4 victory over rival the Munford Cougars. Standing on his home field as the newly crowned district champs had Coach Wick all smiles.
“If you would have asked me earlier that in the year, I would have giggled and chuckled saying ‘I hope we’ll be there,” Wickersham acknowledged. “I thought we were one year away being so young. But these guys kept believing. When they play as a team as they did tonight, we can play against anybody. They showed it tonight.”
The youthful Cardinals were ahead 1-0 after the first inning when Matthew Jacome crossed home plate on a passed ball. That set the table for a big second inning. Brighton tallied 5 runs in the frame starting with Jacome smacking a double to score a pair of teammates.
After a Matthew Smith sacrifice fly made the score 4-0, Cardinal freshman Dalton Rushing singled in another runner. The final blow of the inning came courtesy of a Will Dunlap sac fly to make the score 6-0.
Munford finally got on the scoreboard in the fourth inning when Austin Perry doubled in teammate Jacob Sawyers.
The Cardinals added some insurance in their part of the fourth inning with Garrett Dawson double scoring Cole Wilkins and Dunlap to make the score 8-1.
Those runs proved to be important with the Cougars mounting a rally in the sixth inning. Perry drove in a run to make the score 8-2. Then Austin Cousar smacked a single to drive in a pair of runs to make the score 8-4.
Brett Wilkins settled down and recorded a strikeout to close out the sixth inning. In the seventh inning, Wilkins shutdown Munford in order to lock down the regular-season crown.