Before this season even started, Brighton softball coach Robin Jacobs said he knew Lauryn Maher, who transferred to the school over the summer, was going to have a big impact on her new team this season.
Evidence of that was on full display in a very dramatic way Monday night in Brighton against Tipton-Rosemark Academy.
After the Lady Rebels scored twice in the top of the 10th inning to go ahead 4-2, Maher found herself in a spot players dream of: bases loaded, full count, two outs, bottom of the 10th with her team trailing. She fouled off three straight pitches before doubling to the left-center gap. All three runners scored and Brighton stormed the field with a 5-4 win against one of the best teams in the state.
"That's about as good as we've done as far as I can remember," Brighton head coach Robin Jacobs said when asked to put the dramatic ending in historical perspective. "They have a really good pitcher and a lot of good players around her. It was time for us to win one of those ... I was glad Lauryn was batting."
"I started saying in the sixth or seven inning how fun that game was," said TRA coach Johnie Sanfratello. "That's the most fun I've had in a game we didn't win."
The game was a pitchers' duel between Brighton's Makayla Stinnett and TRA's Charli Rice until the 10th. Rice struck out 15 and allowed just five hits and three walks over 9.2 innings. Stinnett struck out eight, walked six and allowed five hits over 10 innings.
Emily West singled in a run in the top of the eighth to put TRA ahead 2-1, but Brighton tied the score in the bottom of the inning on an RBI-double by Kelsey Camp.
Rice was 2 for 4 at the plate with two RBIs and Lexie Williams and Ali Naumann each singled for TRA. Maher was 2 for 4, Alyssa Camp doubled in a run and Haley Simpson had a single for Brighton (11-6-1).
"Playing a game like that this time of year against a really good team like that can do nothing but help you in the postseason," Sanfratello said. "I'd like to play 27 games like that every year."
Brighton is currently in second place in District 13-AAA behind Hardin County. If Brighton wins its final two league games against Munford and Dyer County if could finish in a tie for first.
The Lady Rebels (25-7-1) clinched their fourth straight league title last week and will begin region tournament play next Wednesday at home.