By Matt Hill
Sam Mahala had a chance to do something special in the sixth inning on Thursday and thats exactly what she did.
With an opportunity to win her own ball game, the standout pitcher singled to score Stephanie Henson to give the JCHS Lady Longhorns a 2-1 victory over Hampton at Kirksey Field on Senior Night.
While Senior Night is a year away for Mahala, she had a fine moment.
The game was tied at 1-1 going into the sixth and with one out, Henson doubled to set up Mahala.
After Eden Smith flied out to the shortstop, the Lady Longhorns had two outs against her but that didnt phase Mahala.
Mahala knocked one to the outfield and victory was in the Lady Longhorns sights.
I was excited because I knew I had gotten the winning run in, she said.
Mahala not only earned the win with her bat, but on the mound as well.
After falling behind 1-0 early, Mahala was almost un-hittable the rest of the way.
Mahala gave up just four hits on the day, two to Jessica Sloan.
It was really exciting to win this game, Mahala said.
JCHS played well, but Hampton also deserves a lot of credit for the great game it played.
The Lady Dogs were mercy ruled by JCHS the first time, but showed no affects of that in this contest.
Mahala recognized that this game was a lot tougher for her team to win.
I had more pressure on me when I was pitching and I was thinking, I cant let them score, Mahala said. It surprised me how well they played but I knew they had a good team.
Ashley Arnold stepped up early for JCHS, knocking in Rebeeca Royston to tie the game at 1-1 in the first inning.
The game then became a pitchers duel between Mahala and Hamptons Whitney Carden. The Lady Bulldog pitcher was pretty solid herself, giving up only five hits and the Hampton defense did its job, allowing only one error on the day.
The win was one that even though on paper looked like the Lady Longhorns would win easily, JCHS is just glad to escape.
Were happy to get the win, Mahala said.
It was senior night and the Lady Longhorns honored their lone senior and one of their most consistent performers, Heather Berardi.
Berardi was hitting around .450 when an ankle injury cut her season short a few weeks ago.
Berardi made a brief appearance in the game on Thursday.
It was sad being the last time I was going to be out on the field, she said.
Ashley Arnold, Stephanie Henson, Sam Mahala, Haley Miller and Elizabeth Dugger had one hit apiece
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The Lady Longhorns rode the hot bat of Rebecca Royston to the victory over the Golden Raiders at Kirksey Field.
Royston went 4-for-4 on the afternoon for her best game as a Lady Longhorn.
Royston was hitting over .300 going in, but her average has really climbed after this game.
Royston is also playing solid defense.
For complete details please pick up your copy of this weeks, The Tomahawk, available at local newsstands today!
By Matt Hill