Brighton needed a split and Munford a sweep before the two teams squared off for the final two District 13-AAA games of the regular season Monday and Tuesday.
Whichever team achieved that goal would secure third place in the district and avoid a first round matchup with nationally-ranked Dyer County in the district tournament.
Both games were competitive, but the Cardinals won them both to move to 3-3 in the district and 15-14 overall.
Brighton pitcher Colton Hathcock, a University of Memphis signee, was the story in Tuesday's 5-2 win at Brighton. He struck out 11, including eight in the final three innings, in a complete-game effort.
“Colton is Colton,” said Brighton coach Brian Oswalt. “They had a great approach with him, putting some balls in play, and we made a couple of errors. But he did a great job.”
Munford's Joseph Fulcher had an RBI single in the top of the first and the Cougars (12-19, 0-5) loaded the bases, but Hathcock got out of the inning, giving up just one run.
Gunner Vines drove in Munford's other run in the top of the third with a single, but Hathcock was in control the rest of the way.
Brighton put runners on first and third with two outs in the seventh before Hathcock got a strikeout, his third of the inning, to end the game.
“I thought both games were very competitive,” said Munford coach Jason Johnson. “We had some missed opportunities tonight where we just didn't execute. We had people in scoring position all night, but I thought we did a good job against him (Hathcock). We've been facing hard throwers all year. That's what district games are all about.”
Colby Poston brought a Brighton run home in the bottom of the second with a bunt single to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the third an RBI-triple by Ladarius Williams and an RBI single from Tanner McDivitt gave the Cardinals a 4-2 lead.
Brighton's final tally came in the bottom of the sixth when Nate Newman walked and then scored on two Munford throwing errors.
Jacob Sawyers started on the mound for Munford and took the loss. Dusty Baker relieved him and pitched the final 3.2 innings. The pair of pitchers, both sophomores, gave up just two earned runs.
“We're really young,” Johnson said. “Our top three pitchers are sophomores, but I feel like they can compete with anybody.”
Brighton won Monday's game at Munford 2-0 behind a strong pitching performance from Newman.
He went all seven innings, allowing just two hits and striking out four.
Hathcock hit a solo homer and Poston drove in Brighton's other run.
Ryan Haynes and Corey Simmons each had two hits for Munford.
Fulcher went the distance for the Cougars. He struck out five and allowed just four hits.
Both teams begin district tournament play May 2 in Dyer County.
Brighton will play Hardin County in the first semifinal.
“We split with them this year,” Oswalt said. “I like our chances with our pitching and the way we've been hitting lately.”
Munford fell to Dyer County 6-0 earlier this season.
“We gave up six unearned runs to Dyer County,” Johnson said. “We just need to make the routine plays and scratch out some runs. That's the game plan.”
In other games:
• Brighton shut out Covington at home on Friday 5-0.
Williams was 2 for 3 with an RBI and Poston, Newman and Kolten Childress each doubled. Bentley Jones, Newman and Poston each drove in one run.
Chase Kidd (five innings, two hits, five strikeouts) and Hathcock (two innings, no hits, four strikeouts) combined to shut out the Chargers.
Bradyn McClain and T.A. Watson each singled for Covington's two hits.
• Kyle Hindman and Vines each homered Saturday for Munford at Dyersburg in a 12-3 win over Gosnell, Ark. Vines finished 2 for 3 with two RBIs and Hindman drove in two.
Clayton Talley struck out three over seven innings to earn the win.
• Munford beat Westview on Satruday in Dyersburg 7-0.
Simmons struck out five and allowed just two hits over seven innings for the win.
Hindman drove in two runs with a double and Gillespie had a pair of hits.