It was feast or famine for Milton on Wednesday afternoon.
In the end, famine won out.
Starting pitcher Taylor Batman befuddled Williamsport’s batters for the first three innings, needing just 18 total pitches to set the side down in order in each of the first three frames. But the Millionaires’ bats came around, as they scored five runs over the final three innings to escape Sampsell Field with a 5-3 nonleague victory.
“Both teams played pretty well,” Black Panthers coach Bill Keefer said. “I was impressed with the way we put the bat on the ball with the two pitchers they have. We knew they would be as good or better than anybody we faced all year.”
Taylor Brooks, who relieved starter Mikayla Bowen to start the bottom of the fifth, got the win for Williamsport (10-8). She yielded a total of three hits, but didn’t allow any runs.
Batman, who was dazzling for Milton (15-3) through the first half of the game, was relieved by Dani Lincoln in the seventh. Batman took the loss.
“For some reason, (Batman) just lost a little pop on her ball about the fifth inning,” Keefer said. “She didn’t have the same sharpness that she had earlier in the game. But we’ll work on that.”
The Black Panthers had a chance to tie the game or take the lead in the seventh, as they loaded the bases with one out on a single, error and walk. But Brooks fanned Bethany Brennan and induced Bayli Derr to fly out to right to end the game.
“It is so hard for high school kids to hit curveballs,” Millionaires coach Quint Bowen said. “And when they’re seeing a curveball from a right-hander (Bowen), and then seeing that curveball from a left-hander (Brooks), it just changes the total dynamics of their at-bats.”
Taylor Gessner doubled in Leighton Chappell in the second to give Milton an early 1-0 lead. In the third, Batman drilled a 1-2 pitch over the left-field fence, driving in Lincoln and herself, for a 3-0 advantage.
“This is a pretty big field to be hitting home runs,” Keefer said. “When she’s locked in, she hit the ball pretty well.”
But Williamsport kept fighting. The Millionaires, who didn’t strike out in the game, kept putting the ball in play.
In the fifth, McKenzie Tebbs singled to start the frame and then scored on Tiana McCormick’s single to left to make the count 3-1.
In the sixth, Williamsport used three singles, a walk and a fielder’s choice to move runners along, eventually scoring Bowen and Kaliah Moore on Megan Horne’s single to left for a 4-3 advantage.
“We did not fold,” Quint Bowen said. “We kept battling. We came back, and I was very proud of them as a coach.”
The Millionaires added one more run in the top of the seventh when Bowen doubled home Brooks.
NOTES: Both teams had nine hits and eight runners left on base. ... Milton did not commit an error in the game, while Williamsport had two. ... Bowen and Brooks combined to strike out seven batters.
It was feast or famine for Milton on Wednesday afternoon.
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