Brown County senior catcher Ashley Walsh has been battling illness and has missed playing time this week.
On Wednesday night, she returned and with one swing of the bat made her presence felt.
Walsh hit a pinch-hit two-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the seventh to lift the Eagles to a 5-4 win against South Decatur.
“Ashley has been sick and didn’t play Tuesday night,” Brown County coach Ron McDonald said. “She still didn’t feel well today, and I told her I wasn’t going to play her today. She’s been swinging the bat really well lately, so I was confident she would move the runner around to scoring position for Cheyenne (Ellis). She got her pitch and drove it.”
The Eagles (7-5) played from behind most of the game. Defensive errors and pitching mistakes by Brown County gave the Cougars (2-11) the lead on three different occasions, but the Eagles constantly battled back.
“South Decatur outplayed us today and deserved to win,” McDonald said. “We didn’t play well today, but we got the runs when we needed to. You’ve got to win these kind of games to get where you want to go, and we pulled one out today.”
“I thought we played a great game,” Cougars coach Lisa Huff said. “One swing of the bat decided this game. The pitch was there, and (Walsh) took it.”
The Cougars have struggled this season. After a win Tuesday night against Oldenburg Academy, South Decatur came out with confidence and seemed to begin to put the pieces together against Brown County. Strong defense and a solid pitching performance from Lizzie Hedger kept South Decatur in a position to win.
“This is the kind of play I’ve been looking for this season,” Huff said. “We made a couple mistakes that cost us. We hit the ball well today, played hard and never gave up. If we keep playing like this, we’ll get some breaks and win some of these close games.”