It wasn't exactly the way the Thomson High Lady Bulldogs wanted to open the season - playing an extra inning game on Monday. But the end results were exactly what they wanted as they pulled out a 2-1 win over the visiting Washington-Wilkes Lady Tigers.
Thomson center fielder Heather Shivers led off the bottom of the 10th with a double to center - her third hit of the game. She later advanced to third base on Chelsea Reeves' sacrifice bunt. With one out, it gave third baseman Hannah Pereda an opportunity to become one of the game's heroes.
And with a big smack of the bat on the ball she became one of the heroes, hitting a RBI sacrifice fly to left field which enabled Shivers to race home with the winning run.
The victory was a sweet one, considering that Thomson won only one game during a six-game tournament played over three days in North Georgia last week. The tournament, which saw Thomson pitted against several strong softball teams in the state, was aimed at helping them become better before regular season.
Thomson was scheduled to play Aquinas in Augusta on Tuesday.
Another hero in Monday's game against Washington-Wilkes was Thomson freshman pitcher Meagan Bentley, who went the distance - pitching the entire 10-inning game. During that time, she struck out three batters, walked two and allowed six hits - all of which were singles.
"Meagan pitched a heck of a game for us," remarked Thomson Head Coach Jason Osborn.
Bentley said her best pitch in the game was her curve ball, which seemed to keep several of the Lady Tigers guessing most of the time, including their talented third baseman and clean-up hitter, Nikki Freeman, who had only one hit in four-at-bats.
The Lady Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Shivers led off with a single up the middle and later scored on a throwing miscue by the Lady Tigers. The run held up until the top of the fourth when the Lady Tigers scored a run to tie the game at 1-1.
Washington-Wilkes' Ashley West hit a one-out single into right field that was misplayed by Tiffany Burley, allowing West to advance to second base. She later moved to third on a fielder's choice by Lauren Harrison and eventually scored the tying run on a RBI single by Cayla Gilland, who like Bentley, pitched the entire game.
Thomson had an opportunity to win the game in the sixth with runners at both second and third bases and no outs. Unfortunately, a ball was hit back to Gilland, who quickly threw to third baseman Nikki Freeman who tagged out Pereda coming back to third and KeKe Bradshaw who was attempting to take third base.
"We've got to do a much better job running the bases," Coach Osborn told his players.
Defensively, the Lady Bulldogs made a number of fine plays, including a double-play that was turned by shortstop Hannah Wilson in the top of the 10th. Pereda, along with Shivers and Shannon Chalker also turned in fine defensive games.