For Parklane, Wednesday’s game not only marked the MAIS AAAAA State Championship Series opener but the final game at home for seven seniors.
And the ladies made sure that it was a positive one, taking Game 1 of the Championship Series with a 10-0 win over Copiah Academy.
“I was really proud of our approach at the plate,” Parklane head coach Greg Gatlin said. “We had a really good plan to try and accomplish and we did that. We got ourselves in hitting counts and that is what we were trying to do.”
Things looked a bit grim for the Pioneers (26-6) in the first inning when the Colonels put two runners on with only one out.
However a 4-6-3 double play from Nan Gatlin to Lana Johnson to Halee Jenkins quickly turned the tide and gave Parklane a big boost.
On just the second pitch that Johnson saw during the ensuing at bat, she smacked a home run over the center field wall putting the Pioneers up 1-0.
“That double play was key, I think that it pumped everybody up,” Johnson said. “We kept them at a zero in the first inning and that was huge.”
After a walk to Meg Gatlin and a single by Halee Jenkins, the Pioneers added to their lead when GiGi Lindsey doubled to center.
Following the hit by Lindsey, the score was 3-0.
Parklane starter Alli Albritton got back to work retiring three of the four batters she faced in the second.
She got some additional help in the bottom half of the inning when Jenkins provided an RBI double of her own bringing Nan and Meg Gatlin home, making the score 5-0.
In the top of the fourth, Nan Gatlin recorded her first-ever home run at Parklane when she launched a ball over the left field wall bringing Alli Robinson and Johnson home increasing the lead to 8-0.
“It was my first (home run) and my last with this being my last game playing on this field,” said senior Nan Gatlin, who went 2-for-3 with a home run, three RBIs and two runs scored. “It is definitely an at-bat that I will remember.”
In the fifth, Albritton picked up her fourth and final strikeout on the night, keeping Copiah at bay.
Facing one out in the bottom of the fifth, Robinson got on base following a single to left. Next up was Johnson who delivered once again with a two-run walk off home run over the center field wall giving Parklane the 10-run rule victory.
“I just want to give all the glory to God because without him, this wouldn’t be possible,” said Johnson who led the Pioneers going 2-for-3 with two home runs, three RBIs and three runs scored. “We walked into the game like we knew that it was going to be a dog fight and that we were ready to play. I think everybody did their part in the game.”
Albritton said that the support showed by the fans helped motivate them to play.
“I’m just glad that we were able to get it done,” she said. “The crowd was there, the energy was great and we just have to carry it over to Saturday.”
Game 2 is set for Saturday at 5 p.m. in Gallman.