By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
MILTON -- With two outs and runners on second and third base in the bottom of the seventh inning Thursday, Milton coach Bill Keefer looked down the third base line to batter Kiah Brink and told her it was moments like this that get you on ESPN by stepping up and being a hero.
ESPN may not have been at Milton High, but it was definitely a moment for Brink to become a hero.
Brink ripped a 1-2 pitch at Danville's shortstop. Instead of being cleanly fielded, the ball was bobbled and no play could be made before Milton's Katelyn Gensel trotted across home plate with the winning run.
It capped a late flurry by Milton to win its season-opener against the HAC-I rival Ironmen, 11-10, on a cold and cloudy afternoon.
Trailing by four heading into the sixth inning, the Black Panthers (1-0, 1-0 HAC-I) started to get some breaks against the Ironmen (0-1, 0-1 HAC-I).
With the bases loaded after a Dani Lincoln single, Mary Adams got walked to bring a run in. A passed ball allowed Brink to score, then an error at third base brought in two more runs to tie the game at 10-all and shift the momentum to Milton, who hadn't led since the third inning.
"We could've been out of that inning with no runs that they scored the four in. So happens the girl walks and it goes from there," Danville coach Dwayne Heeter said. "For a first game, I'm pretty proud of the girls. We hit the ball well. Overall, we fielded (well). We've only been outside three or four times, (but) we did well." Gensel opened the seventh inning with a leadoff single into shallow left field before Payton Davis reached on a bunt single to put two runners on with no outs. Brink then ended the game with her grounder.