By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The rainy Regional Monday night took on a special meaning for the Brighton Lady Cardinals.
Because of weather canceling the last couple of Brighton Softball home games during the regular season, Robin Jacobs’ flock had an addition goal in early May during the District 13-3A Softball Tournament.
Along with the focus of winning the championship, the Lady Cardinals needed to take the crown in order to secure the home game for that Monday night. Brighton wanted the extra home game in order to have a Senior Night for solo 12th grader Seeley Layne.
The Lady Cardinals took care of business to win the 2016 District 13-3A championship and the Regional Semifinal contest in Brighton set up a date with the Bolton Lady Wildcats.
And the Regional/Senior Night ended underneath dry skies with Brighton winning 18-1 in five innings to advance to the Region 7-3A Tournament championship game Wednesday night.
“Up at Dyer County, Hardin County gave us a run for our money,” Jacobs recalled. “They’re really good. To Seeley’s credit, they have batted against her about six or seven times. It was three times in two days. The last game they only got four hits off her. I think that was a good way for her to bounce back after she loss the one before.
“She just keeps coming,” he continued. “We decided last year in the first part of the season to go with one pitcher. We were going to ride her until she fell out. If we probably had made this decision her sophomore year, we might have been more successful. We did it her junior year and she took it like a champ. The 61 wins speak for themselves. We’re proud to have her on our team.”
The Lady Cardinals jumped out 2-0 in the first inning. Then Brighton added 4 runs in the second inning with Ta’mya Johnson and Haley Rider doubles driving in runs.
The third inning was time for the Lady Cardinals to ice the game with 12 runs. Players like Johnson, Rider, Currie McIntyre, Gracie Poirier and Layne were some of the players to drive in RBIs.
Seeley’s next challenge will be the Arlington Lady Tigers. Brighton picked up a pair of wins over the Lady Tigers during the regular season in two competitive contest.
Those victories are a part of Layne’s 61 varsity wins in her Brighton career. The Lady Cardinal record for most wins is 64 set by Leanna Coulston.
Layne’s path toward becoming one of the all-time best Brighton pitchers started last season during a 12-1 beat down courtesy of the St. Benedict Lady Eagles.
“We told her, ‘You have to stay out there,’” Jacobs recalled. “’Finish the game.’ It was all history from there.”
Jacobs and his coaching staff decided in 2015 to go with the ‘one-pitcher’ format. Layne took the challenge and the Lady Cardinals won two district championships and now will play in back-to-back Sub-State games.
If Layne goes unbeaten the rest of the week, she will have a chance to tie the all-time wins record at the 2016 State Tournament in Murfreesboro.
“We’ve got to get to that State Tournament and I hope she gets it,” Jacobs concluded. “I believe the record is 64. We’ve set it in sight and every time we’ve set a goal this year we’ve reached it. I think this is our 27 win tonight and she’s leading us.”