High School Sports

Gulfport softball can’t find the big hit at Brandon

Gulfport softball coach Ryan Hodge
Gulfport softball coach Ryan Hodge Special to the Sun Herald

Playoff time means taking advantage of opportunities.

That was the case Thursday afternoon.

Behind Karley Nichols, Brandon held off Gulfport 3-0 to sweep the second round series in the MHSAA Class 6A softball playoffs.

The Lady Bulldogs (24-4) will face the Ocean Springs-Hancock winner in the third round beginning on Monday.

“We had opportunities and got people on base we didn’t get the big hit,” said Gulfport coach Ryan Hodge. “Give all credit to Brandon’s pitcher she kept us off balanced all game long and we never adjusted.”

Nichols, a Southern Miss signee, was a one-person wrecking crew for Brandon.

On the mound she tossed a complete game, allowing three hits and striking out three.

At the plate she went 3-for-3 with two doubles, a RBI and a run scored.

“When she’s on she can locate just about anywhere around the plate and today she was,” said Brandon coach Heidi Hill. “It’s hard for teams to adjust to her pitches and she kept them off balanced. With her being leadoff we expect big things out of her and she had two doubles and one scored a run that was big.”

Brandon would score two runs in the first on double by McCall Lee and a single by Skyler McLellan.

Nichols had a RBI double in the fifth inning to cap the scoring.

“At this point in the season everyone you face is good,” Hill said. “Gulfport was a good team and now it’s own to either Ocean Springs or Hancock.”

Jessica Lee (4-7) took the loss on the mound for Gulfport (14-13).

With the Lady Admirals being a junior heavy team this year, next year could be a year the Lady Admirals make a deep playoff run.

“To where we’ve come from since five or six years ago is phenomenal,” Hodge said. “We weren’t supposed to get this far and we got past a good Oak Grove team in first round and hung in there with a really good Brandon team. So the future is bright.”