It started out as a pitchers’ duel, but in the end all it took was one big inning.
Behind a big fifth inning and the pitching of Karley Nichols Brandon got past Hancock 6-0 in Game 2 of the third round of the MHSAA Class 6A softball playoffs Tuesday afternoon.
The Lady Bulldogs (26-4) will face Harrison Central for the 6A South State championship. Game 1 will be at Harrison Central on Friday. Game 2 and (if necessary) 3 will be at Brandon on Saturday.
“It was a pitchers’ duel the first five innings, but they got a hit and we made an error and they took advantage,” Hancock coach Bo Breland said. “We couldn’t get the big hit when we got runners on base, unlike last night we did.”
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Brandon scored all six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The Lady Bulldogs scored three runs off two Hancock errors, while AnnElyse Nichols had an RBI triple; McCall Lee and Sidney Sinclair had RBI singles each.
“I knew coming in it was going to be a one run and we were able to get six runs in the fifth,” Brandon coach Heidi Hill said. “Hancock is a great team and we were able to take of advantage of a couple errors and that was the difference.”
Nichols (19-4), a Southern Miss signee, got the win in the circle for Brandon.
Pearl River Community College signee Rylee Swilley (11-12) took the loss for Hancock.
The Lady Hawks (11-13) could manage only four hits. With Swilley the only senior on the team, Hancock should be back in the 6A playoff mix next year.
“We’ve got eight of the nine starters back in our lineup, but we got work to do on the mound,” Breland said. “Swilley carried us to the third round and we will miss her.”