By Thomas Sellers Jr.
District 13-3A softball is quality over quantity.
All four teams, Hardin County, Dyer County, Brighton and Munford, all have the potential to win the league championship in this week’s tournament to be held in Brighton.
To close out the regular season last week, the Munford Lady Cougars wanted to send a message to the rest of the league by taking down the Brighton Lady Cardinals. The Lady Cougars used the pitching of Hannah Finley, solid defense and timely hitting from players like Mattie Rittinger to win 6-2.
Finley used a steady diet of screwballs and raise balls to neutralize the Brighton stout offense.
“Honestly my mindset is to try to shut them down and the offense will take care of it for us,” Finley said.
Munford grabbed Finley an early lead courtesy of Kayla Reed reaching base with a double. Then Kelsey Frizzell followed with a single to drive Reed in.
The Lady Cougars’ 1-0 first inning advantage grew to 2-0 in the second inning. Rittinger scored that run after reaching base when a Marissa Moss offering hit her in the ribs.
“Yeah it hurt,” Rittinger acknowledged. “So it really made me want to hit it the next time up. I had gotten two strikes on me the time before. I was like, ‘Man she can’t hit if off me again.’”
Rittinger would get another chance at Moss in the fifth inning ahead 4-1. Moss’ delivery was crushed off the new Brighton scoreboard giving the Lady Cougars a 6-1 advantage.
“That home run felt really good because I haven’t hit one this season,” Rittinger said. “So getting it after I had gotten two strikes behind made feel really good about it. It was good timing and it came especially against Brighton.”
While Rittinger enjoyed the moment of the two-run homer, Finley was able to breathe easier.
“I was able to relax a little more,” Finley said. “I was like, ‘Oh geez, it’s going. It’s going.’”
Brighton had two more rallies in the game with the first coming in the fifth inning when Moss drove in her second run of the night scoring Kailee Hunt.
In the bottom of the seventh inning the Lady Cardinals had bases loaded but couldn’t manage to get any runs across home plate.
Finley picked up the victory and more confidence in her team heading into the postseason.
“I have full confidence in everyone behind me and in the dugout,” she said. “With our offense we have a chance to go all the way.
“It’s going to take good attitudes all the way and more communication,” Finley added. “It’s going to be the things off the field that will help us.”
Rittinger agreed it will take the Lady Cougars being a cohesive unit to make a May run.
“We’re going to have to work together and really work as a team because when we’re up that’s when we really start hitting, playing good defense and everything,” she concluded. “Our pitchers definitely will have to be good and be on. When can’t have a lot of walks. We’ll play defense behind them.”