By Jason Hanes
Coming in with her team down 3-0 in the first inning, pitcher Jordyn Partain slammed the door for the rest of the way, allowing only a single and a walk while retiring 11 in a row at one point to help Atlanta Vipers Gold 18U Holbrook to a 9-3 win over Prospex Gold 18U in 18U Elite Bracket Play at the Triple Crown Southeast Regionals.
“They win together as a team, and they lose together as a team,” head coach Jason Holbrook said. “They’ve really come together at the right time during the summer. They’ve really been putting in the time hitting, the pitchers have been putting in the extra time pitching. I think they’re hopefully peaking at the right time.”
Nine of the 11 outs Partain recorded consecutively were on balls put in play by Prospex batters. Partain, a University of Georgia commit, was backed by solid defense all over the diamond, with eight of the outs on balls in play coming on ground outs. “I was just trying to get outs in any way I could. A strikeout is great but a ground ball is even better. My defense is great. I really trust them.”
Partain entered after a three-run homer to right-center by Karsi Lentz gave Prospex the early advantage. RBI singles in the bottom of the first by Gatorade Georgia High School Softball Player of the Year Megan Bloodworth and University of Louisiana signee Mackenzie White brought the Vipers back within a run after a frame.
In the second, the Vipers loaded the bases and tied the game on a walk to Ole Miss signee Natalie Ray. White would then lift a sacrifice fly to score the go-ahead run, and when the throw to the infield got away, another run would come in to make it 5-3.
The score stayed the same until the bottom of the fifth, when a throwing error gave Vipers Holbrook a run, and an infield hit by UGA commit Jaydyn Goodwin ended the game with two runs scoring as the time limit expired on the contest.
Partain’s streak of retiring batters ended in the fourth with a walk, but a smooth double play turned by her defense erased the runner from the base. Then, Kyndall Bailey made the defensive play of the game when she dove forward and made a stunning catch in right field to end the inning.
“A play like that just hypes me up,” Partain said. “That would have been a hit if she hadn’t caught that. So I was like, Yes!”
The win gives Atlanta Vipers Gold 18U Holbrook a 10 a.m. contest against EC Bullets 18 Gold – Schnutte. “We just need to be patient at the plate and not chase pitches,” coach Holbrook said. “They’re going to have to be aware of situations. We’ve got to score runs, so they’ve got to have good situational hitting.”
“I feel like we’ve done really well,” said Partain. “We’ve been hitting the ball really well. Our pitching has been doing great. We’ve only given up [eight] runs so far. We just have to keep playing good if we want to keep winning.”