Trinity falls to Brookhaven

Published 12:09 am Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Trinity Episcopal’s Tali Beard tags out Brookhaven Academy’s Ali Livingston during their game Tuesday afternoon at Natchez High’s softball field. (Eric Shelton \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — The Trinity Episcopal softball team came up to bat in the bottom of the fifth inning with its postseason hopes on the line Tuesday night facing a monumental challenge.

The Lady Saints trailed Brookhaven Academy 14-2 heading into their final at bat, and Trinity needed to beat the Cougars by six to give themselves a chance to make the playoffs.

Randa Morace led off the inning for Trinity with a walk and started a final-inning rally that had the home crowd on its feet.

Seven of the first eight Trinity batters came around to score. Caitlyn Upton and Ashleigh Williams both doubled in the inning, and senior Katie Steele tripled. The Lady Saints fought their way back, and had the tying run at the plate in the form of Jordan Petty, who had singled earlier in the inning.

Trinity senior Katie Steele delivers a pitch during their game against Brookhaven Academy Tuesday afternoon at Natchez High’s softball field. (Eric Shelton \ The Natchez Democrat)

But, Brookhaven pitcher Meredith Allen was able to get Petty to pop out and the Lady Cougars edged Trinity 14-12.

“I am real proud of (the girls) tonight,” Trinity head coach Chris Hutchins said. “We started out slow, which is nothing new for us, and that reflects on the coaching as much as anything. There wasn’t a single time this year that I felt we quit. They played hard all the way through this season.”

Brookhaven was able to jump on Trinity in the top of the first when the Lady Cougars scored five unearned runs to take the early lead.

Errors would remain an issue for the Lady Saints throughout the game. Trinity committed 12 errors, and allowed 11 unearned runs in the game.

“(The difference was) experience in big games,” Hutchins said. “We have some good athletes, but some hadn’t played a lot of softball. They will get better with time.”

Trinity cut Brookhaven’s lead to 5-1 in the second inning when Petty came around to score after her one-out walk.

The Lady Cougars would pad their lead in the top of the fourth with three runs on three hits and two Trinity errors.

Trinity made it 8-2 in the bottom of the inning when Caitlyn Upton came around to score on a Brookhaven error.

Brookhaven stretched its lead even further in the top of the fifth with six runs on three hits. The biggest hit for the Lady Cougars was Destiny Allen’s two-run triple.

Trinity’s 10 runs in the bottom of the inning came off five hits (two by Williams), three walks and two Brookhaven errors.

Steele, Trinity’s only senior, led the Lady Saints offensively in her last home game with a double and a triple. Steele also took the loss for the Lady Saints. She pitched all five innings and gave up just three earned runs on nine hits, three walks and three strikeouts.

The Lady Saints knew they had an uphill battle Tuesday night to score enough runs to make the playoffs, Hutchins said.

“We knew it was going to be a big hurdle, especially against a team as well-coached as (Brookhaven),” he said.

The Lady Saints saluted their senior leader by breaking the postgame huddle with the words, “Katie Steele.”

Trinity finished its District 5-AA season with a record of 1-5. The Lady Saints (7-10) will play their final game Monday at Centreville Academy.