By Todd Bryant
The Lady Tiger Softball team made the Final Four again this year and was in hopes of avenging the disappointment of finishing second in 2018. The team traveled down to Vero Beach to Historic Dodgertown on Monday, May 20th to get ready to play Wewahitchka in the state semi finals on Tuesday May 21st. In 2018, the Wewahitchka Gators had defeated Trenton 2-1 in a rain soaked final game. Trenton was the home team and started their ace, sophomore Darian Ingram, who came into the game with a record of 21-0 and led all the 1A pitchers in ERA, strikeouts, and wins.
The Tigers got on the board in the bottom of the first inning when Emily Barras walked, advanced to second on a Gator error, and scored when Keeli Zingaro hit a sharp single to left field. Ingram cruised through the first three innings, only allowing two runners to reach first base. In the bottom of the third inning, Hallie Bryant led off the inning with a triple. The Tigers attempted to squeeze Bryant to the plate with a Barras bunt but the bunt was fielded and held allowing both runners to remain safe. Barras then moved to second on a pass ball and Wewahitchka decided to walk Adrian Ingram to load the bases. With no outs, and the score 1-0, Zingaro laced a single to left scoring Bryant and Barras, making the score 3-0. Lillian Wilkerson followed with a nice sacrifice bunt that was mishandled putting Zingaro at 3rd. Taniah Bowers followed with a sacrifice fly to left center to score Zingaro and make the score 4-0. Ingram continued burning through the Gator hitters, allowing only one base runner in the 4th thru 7th innings. For the day Ingram gave up only 3 hits, 0 walks, struck out 7 hitters, and no runs. Keeli Zingaro was 3 for 3 with 3 RBIs, Barras had a hit with two runs scored, Bryant had a triple with a run scored and a stolen base, Adrian Ingram scored a run, Lillian Wilkerson had a hit, and Zoey Maksimov had a hit. The Tigers won 4-0 and moved on to play Sneads in the Championship game. The Tigers were now 26-0.
The Tigers were the home team again in the final game. Sneads, with a record of 21-8, had won 12-1 over Lafayette the previous day. The Tigers went back to their ace one more time, starting Darian Ingram for the championship game. Ingram came out dealing, striking out the first three batters, including the Pirate catcher and leading 1A home run hitter. In the bottom of the first inning, the Tigers got hits from Bryant and Zingaro and got a walk from Wilkerson but was unable to put a run across the board. In the top of the second inning, Ingram had two walks but was able to strike out 2 more hitters and kept the Pirates from scoring. In the bottom of the second inning Grace Guthrie led off with a walk and pinch hitter Zoey Maksimov moved Guthrie to second with a sacrifice bunt. With two outs, Hallie Bryant bounced a single through the middle of the infield and scored Guthrie, making the score 1-0. Barras was able to follow with an infield single but the inning ended without another score. In the top of the third inning Ingram gave up one hit but had two more strikeouts, keeping the Pirate hitters guessing and scoreless. In the bottom half of the inning, the Tigers were hitless and the score remained 1-0. In the 4th inning both pitchers cruised through 3 hitters each and the score remained 1-0 going into the 5th inning. In the top of the 5th inning, Ingram got two more strikeouts, bringing her total to 9 and keeping the Pirates scoreless. But things were about to change for the Tigers. Bryant led off with an infield single to get the rally started. After an out, Bryant broke to second on a 1-1 count and Adrian Ingram laced a double into left center to score Bryant and make the score 2-0. Zingaro followed with an RBI single scoring Ingram and making the score 3-0. Lilly Wilkerson laid down a sacrifice bunt that was mishandled that allowed Zingaro to score and Wilkerson moved to 3rd, making the score 4-0. After a time out by Sneads, Taniah Bowers laid down the first pitch on a squeeze bunt, scoring Wilkerson, making the score 5-0, and reached second on an error on the play. Grace Guthrie followed with a sacrifice bunt that was mishandled and stole second, putting runners at second and third with one out. Tatum Duthu then had an infield single to load the bases. With one out, Shaylyn Parrish had a two RBI single to score Guthrie and Bowers, making the score 7-0. Bryant then followed up with her 4th hit of the day, another infield single that loaded the bases. The Tigers weren’t able to score any more runs but went into the top of the 6th leading 7-0. In the top of the 6th the Tigers had an error and Ingram gave up a double, two walks and had two strikeouts, but the Pirates scored 3 runs making the score 7-3. In the bottom of the 6th inning Bowers singled again but was stranded at first base. So the Tigers moved to the top of the 7th inning, leading 7-3, trying to capture their first state fastpitch softball championship. Ingram took the mound and struck out the first batter, giving her 12 strikeouts for the day. The next batter popped up and Grace Guthrie made a diving catch from her first base position to gather in out number two. The third hitter grounded out to Darian’s twin sister, Adrian, and the slick fielding second baseman flipped the ball over to Guthrie for out number 3 and Trenton High School became the 2019 1A State Champions.
Ingram threw a 2 hitter with no earned runs and 12 strikeouts. Hallie Bryant went 4 for 4 with a run and an RBI. Keeli Zingaro was 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run. Taniah Bowers was 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run. Adrian Ingram had a double, scored and had an RBI. Shaylyn Parrish was 1 for 2 with 2 RBIs, Grace Guthrie scored 2 runs and Emily Barras had a hit. The Tigers had 11 hits in the final game and ended their season with a perfect record of 27-0.
Lady Tigers Softball Team is State Champions
By Todd Bryant