BRISTOL -- Jaclyn Jenkins did it again for Daniel Boone.
The freshman phenom’s two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh lifted the Lady ‘Blazers over Science Hill 3-2 in the District 1-AAA softball winners’ bracket final on Wednesday night at Rotary Field.
Boone, looking for its fifth straight district title, advanced to today’s championship round. The Lady ‘Blazers (34-6) will play Dobyns-Bennett (25-16) in a championship game at 6 p.m. with a second if necessary game scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
The Lady Indians defeated Science Hill 5-2 in the losers’ bracket final.
Jenkins’ walk-off hit gave Boone the victory on a night when starting pitcher McKenzi Ferguson threw 14 strikeouts and allowed just five hits.
Ferguson helped her cause on the offensive end, crushing a home run over deep center field in the bottom of the second inning.
“I just went out to do my best,” Ferguson said. “I knew the team had my back. I wasn’t nervous going into that final half-inning. I knew the girls would step up.”
After Ferguson’s solo shot in the second, Science Hill pulled ahead in the top of the third. Hannah Devotie had an infield single, followed by Megan Devotie’s RBI triple to the corner in right field. Megan Devotie then scored on a wild pitch for a 2-1 Lady ‘Topper lead.
It stayed that way until the bottom of the seventh as Science Hill pitcher Vanessa Elliott gave up only four hits over the next four innings.
With one out and the bases loaded in the fifth inning, Elliott rose to the challenge. Jenkins hit a ball straight to Science Hill first baseman Alyssa Loveday, who turned it into a force out at home plate.
Elliott then fanned Haley Wagner for the third out as the Lady ‘Toppers clung to a 2-1 lead.
It held up until the end when Kayla Sanders, 3-for-4 on the evening, got on base with a single, followed by Hannah Montoya hit by a pitch.
Just like a 10-9 win over Science Hill on April 16, Jenkins’ walk-off provided a come-from-behind victory.
“I had a really bad game at the plate. I was 0-for-3,” said Jenkins, a left-handed hitter. “Coming up to the plate, I was like, ‘I think it’s my turn.’ The last time I hit the first pitch and grounded out, so I wasn’t going to hit the first pitch.
“I saw the second pitch coming and when I opened my eyes, I was rounding second base.”
1-AAA losers’ bracket final
Dobyns-Bennett 5, Science Hill 2
Marissa Honeycutt tossed a four-hitter and added a 3-for-4 effort at the plate to lead the Lady Indians over the Lady ‘Toppers (27-15) in the nightcap.
Sam Bradley’s RBI single to score Megan Devotie gave Science Hill a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
Madi Kilby evened the score for Dobyns-Bennett in the top of fourth with a solo shot over the left field fence. However, the Lady Indians left the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning.
Two innings later, Dobyns-Bennett took the lead with four runs off four hits and three Science Hill errors. Kilby, who ended 2-for-4 with three RBIs, highlighted the outburst with a two-run single.
Down 5-1 in the bottom of the seventh, Devotie singled and Vanessa Elliott doubled, followed by a sacrifice fly by Emma Martindale for the game’s final run.
“We were resilient after the loss to Boone because that was tough,” Lady ‘Toppers head coach Jerry Higgins said. “That was hard. I’m still having trouble with it.”
It marked the end of the careers of seven Science Hill seniors -- the Devotie twins, Bradley, Jordan Rush, Allison Poget, Alyssa Loveday and Amanda Blackman. As a group, they helped the Lady ‘Toppers finish second in the Big Eight Conference and get to the verge of a regional berth.
“They’ve overachieved, done a whole lot better than we expected,” Higgins said. “I’m proud of them. Twenty-seven wins is nothing to be ashamed of. The goal every year is to get past the district to the region, and we just didn’t hit enough to do it tonight.”