Tuesday night’s high school softball game between Hawthorne and Bronson wasn’t pretty, but when you win it’s a beautiful thing.
Madisyn Gillins and Kaelyn Williams overcame a combined nine walks and two hit batsmen by tossing a five-inning no-hitter as the visiting Hornets defeated the Eagles, 15-4, in a rivalry game from Levy County.
“We actually play better on the road for some reason,” said Hawthorne coach Lavar Williams. “But I have told the girls from the beginning of the year that every game, from the last five to seven games at the end of our schedule, are preparing us for district. The girls are really coming into their own and jelling, and I’m just proud of them right now for the way they’re coming through.”
Just two weeks ago, Bronson defeated Hawthorne, 17-4, in Alachua County.
However, Hawthorne flipped the script to split the two-game series with a three-run first inning and a seven-run second inning in building a quick 10-1 lead.
“It was very important for us to score in the beginning,” Williams said. “We had come up with a goal as a team to score 10 in the first. That’s what we put up as a team. We didn’t accomplish it, but we put up three. We won the inning, so we moved on to the second inning and said, ‘hey, let’s just win each inning at a time now,’ couple of runs here, a couple of runs there, minimize the errors and let’s work on winning the innings.”
The Hornets (11-8) scored three runs on just one hit in the top of the first but they capitalized on a walk, a hit batsman, a wild pitch and a pair of Bronson errors.
Senior Kamiah Brooks was hit by Pressley Thomas to start the game and scored on an RBI single by Gillins, the opposing starting pitcher.
Brooks, who was hit by a pitch twice, reached base all four times she came to the plate including an RBI double in the second inning.
The big inning came in the second when Hawthorne sent 11 batters to the plate and scored seven runs.
This time the Hawthorne offense came to life.
Alaina Auld, who bats second in the lineup, followed Brooks with an RBI single, followed by a double by Gillins, who also reached base all four times to the plate.
Clean-up hitter Synteria Williams then drove one off the bottom of the fence in left field for a 2-RBI double.
“My top of the order really came through tonight,” Williams said. “They hit the ball well. Gillins also pitched well for me. I’m really proud of her. She’s a sophomore and she continues to grow for us.”
Meanwhile, Kaelyn Williams rotated with Gillins in the circle, with each making two appearances in the contest.
Williams, who is just a seventh-grader, struck out the side in the fifth, while Gillins struck out the side in the third.
“Williams has been carrying us the early part of the season so now Gillins is coming in at the end of the season, they’ve been a 1-2 combination,” Coach Williams said. “Williams is still learning the game but she’s going to be the future, and Gillins is going to be a nice 1-2 combination for Hawthorne for the next couple of years.”
The closest Bronson came to getting a hit was in the bottom of the first inning on a soft fly ball into short right field that bounced off the glove of the second baseman for an error. That allowed junior Maci Thomas to reach base while scoring eighth grader Julianne Lampton.
But it would be the only ball to leave the infield for the Eagles (11-7).
Bronson did score a pair of runs on a couple of wild pitches after the first two batters walked in the bottom of the second.
Despite all of the free passes, Bronson couldn’t come up with the hit when they needed it most, leaving the bases loaded in the second and stranding eight total runners over five innings.
“Hawthorne played a good game,” said Bronson coach John Miller. “They were pretty hot, and we were not. If you don’t hit the ball you don’t win.”
Hawthorne will host Newberry at 7 p.m. on Thursday, while Bronson will travel to Dunnellon for its regular season finale at 7 p.m. on Friday.
District tournament play begins next week for both teams.
Bronson is the No. 4 seed in 1A-District 7 and will play No. 5 seed Newberry in the district quarterfinals on Monday, while Hawthorne, the No. 3-seed in 1A-District 8, will play No. 2 seed Glades Day (Belle Glade) on Tuesday in the district semifinals.
P.K. Yonge 5, Eastside 3 (baseball)
Lane Sparkman continued to add to his stellar senior season Tuesday at Bobby Hawkins Field in leading P.K. Yonge to a 5-3 win over Eastside.
Sparkman (5-1) tossed a five-hitter while striking out eight, giving up just one earned run on 105 pitches. He also led P.K. Yonge (16-7) with two hits — a run-scoring single, a double and scored a run.
In picking up their third consecutive win, the Blue Wave avenged an earlier loss to the Rams (7-7), 14-9 on March 9 at Eastside.
Junior Nick Roach notched the save by putting out both batters he faced in the seventh. He also had an RBI single.
The Blue Wave end their regular season with a 7 p.m. game Thursday (Senior Night) against visiting Saint Francis.
P.K. Yonge found out earlier Tuesday it earned the third seed for next week’s District 4-3A tournament at Ocala Catholic. PKY plays sixth seed Interlachen at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Interlachen canceled its home game against P.K. Yonge on Monday because of the threat of inclement weather.