A pivotal fifth inning was the deciding factor in a hard fought game between Trinity and Butler County, in which the Lady Bears came out on top 7-3 to claim the 12th District Championship.
Trinity looked to apply pressure early on, doubling and taking advantage of a Butler County error to put runners on second and third with one out in the first.
Cassidy Morris came through with a sacrifice fly, giving the Lady Raiders a 1-0 lead going into the bottom of the first.
But the Lady Bears had an answer, as a one-out single was followed up with an RBI triple from Autumn Proctor.
She would be driven in during the next at-bat in which Hunt would register a sacrifice fly to take an early 2-1 lead.
Trinity took advantage of another fielding blunder in the second, moving Katherine Hibbitt to second. Georgia Howard was hit by a pitch during the next at-bat, giving the Lady Raiders some two-out rally potential.
Up next, Raylee Higdon came through with an infield single, as Hibbitt dug from second all the way home to knot things up at 2-2.
Butler County nearly broke it open in the bottom of the fourth, notching a leadoff triple followed by back-to-back singles to take a 3-2 lead and give the Lady Bears runners on first and second with no outs.
However, Allie Barnett got the next three batters to fly out, leaving them trailing by just the one run.
Morris kept the momentum going for the Lady Raiders next inning, homering with an absolute laser to left field with two outs to knot things up at 3-3 going into the bottom of the fifth.
But the game wouldn’t stay tied for long, as Olivia Austin made it to third on an error to start the inning for Butler County.
This was the second misplayed ball in the outfield and Melton said these were some blunders they didn’t expect to happen.
“We’ve played good defense all year,” Melton said. “Those are just some mistakes we hadn’t made all year.”
An RBI groundout followed, with solo home runs from Proctor and Aleace Hall coming later in the inning, giving the Lady Bears a 6-3 lead going into the top of the sixth.
The home run train kept rolling for the Lady Bears in the bottom of the sixth, as Aubrey Clark made it 7-3 with a leadoff solo shot.
This would be more than enough to fend off the Lady Raiders, making Butler County the 12th District Champions with a 7-3 victory.
“I thought we started out well,” Melton said. “Then we kind of lost momentum a little bit when they started hitting Allie, our starting pitcher. I just don’t think we recovered from that and couldn’t get back in the flow.”
The loss moves Trinity to a 14-16 overall record for the year as they await to see who they’ll play in regionals.