By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Tuesday night was a special evening in Millington as the host Millington Lady Trojans joined efforts with the visiting Haywood Lady Tomcats to recognize cancer survivors as part of the 2018 Strikeout Cancer Game.
After relatives of the players threw out the first pitches, the Lady Tomcats came out firing trying to win the District 15-2A showdown. Haywood jumped out 5-0 in the top of the first inning.
But the Lady Trojans had an answer outscoring Haywood 16-1 the rest of the contest to win the game 16-6 in six innings.
“We came out not ready to play,” Millington Head Coach Whitney Horton acknowledged. “We usually have a bad inning. I’m kind of glad that inning was the first inning. It kind of got bats going throughout the game. We kept our composure. I told them we have to stay consistent. We weren’t staying consistent that first inning when we were playing defense. The rest of the game they stayed consistent and we kept our composure. And we made key outs.”
Millington ace Kaylee “K” Bone shutdown the Lady Tomcat bats using her movement on pitches all night. When the ball got into play, senior teammates Keyanna Jones and Paige Hall made the crucial outs. Hall recorded three outs in a row in the second inning.
Later in the game Jones was the glove catching deep fly-balls in centerfield. The offensive production for Millington came from various bats like Ann Howard, Hannah Clifton, Madelyn Clifton, Hall, Jones, Kaitlyn McDonald, Bone and TZ House. House drove in four runs on the night. And the final RBI of the game came off the bat of Olivia Ballard’s hit to centerfield.
Early in the contest Haywood jumped out 5-0. In the Lady Trojans half of the first inning, Millington was able to trim the deficit to 5-4.
Jones got things rolling with a bunt single. After Howard reached on an error, Hall stroked a double to drive in both runners making the score 5-2. Next up was House delivering a single to score Hall.
A pass ball allowed Millington’s fourth run to score closing out the first inning with a score of 5-4.
The Lady Trojans tied the game at 5-5 in the second inning when Hall drove in an RBI.
In the third inning Millington seized control of the game for good. Howard added some insurance for Bone with a base hit scoring a pair of runners. Moments later House had a big blow driving a double to the outfield scoring two teammates making the tally 9-5.
In the next frame Millington scored four more runs with Hall and House grabbing an RBI each. In the fifth inning, McDonald used a combination of power and speed to leg out a triple that reached the outfield wall. That hit drove in Madelyn “Mad Dog” Clifton to make the score 14-6.
To close out Haywood in the sixth inning, Hannah Clifton took her turn at hitting a triple to score Hall who reached on a single. Ahead 15-6, Ballard stepped to the plate with a chance to drive in Clifton and end the game. The senior delivered with a single to centerfield ending the contest 16-6 and giving Millington a 3-1 record in league play.
Horton said it was great to see her team overcome the early deficit and the bats wake up for six full innings.
“You’ve got to play the best to be the best,” she noted of the early schedule. “I always tell my kids I’m not going to make a schedule easy. I want to have a competitive schedule. To play teams like that and to see pitching like we saw at Desoto Central, Covington has a really good pitcher and Munford has a kid who can throw pretty good.
“They’ve just got to see different pitching so we can we can get more aggressive at the plate,” Horton concluded. “And we have to stay consistent.”