Munford and Brighton each played District 13-AAA softball tournament games Tuesday night in Munford with a lot on the line.
The top-seeded Lady Cardinals took on third-seeded Hardin County in an elimination game, while Munford, the second seed, played fourth-seeded Dyer County.
Brighton (19-12) saw its season end in a 9-6 loss, while Munford (25-11) punched its ticket for next week's region semifinals with a 5-1 win.
Munford got three runs in the first inning off Dyer County starter Allie Ellis, who had pitched 12 straight scoreless innings against Munford heading into the game.
Munford catcher Peyton Joyner hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Jodie Duncan had an RBI-double to supply all the runs Munford would need.
“It feels really good to hit it against this team because we've had such a big rivalry against them,” Joyner said. “We can breathe a lot easier now.”
Munford head coach Glenn Goulder said his team took a different approach against Ellis this time around.
“I think we were smart aggressive instead of just being aggressive,” Goulder said. “We took a lot of pitches and that really helped us instead of hacking away at everything we see.”
Sam Scott took care of the rest. She went the distance, striking out 12, including four in the final two innings, and allowed just two hits.
“She did great,” Joyner said about her battery mate. “I couldn't ask for anything better. Her spots were great.”
Courtney Bonaiuto drove in a run for Munford in the top of the seventh and Maddison Welch singled her home for the final run of the game. Welch and Duncan each had two hits for Munford.
“I told the how proud I was of them,” Goulder said. “We graduated six starters last year. Expectations weren't extremely high for this bunch, but they kept getting better and better. I think they've really come a long way.”
Munford will play either Dyer County for Hardin County today at 5 p.m. for the district title. If Munford loses, they play again at 7 p.m.
Either way, the Lady Cougars will play in the region semifinals Monday. A win there puts them in a sectional game next Friday, the winner of which advances to the state tournament.
Brighton fell behind 5-3 through four innings.
The Lady Cardinals got runners on base in the final three innings, but could not come back.
Hardin County scored three times in the top of the fifth to go ahead 9-3.
Raygan Huffman singled in a run for Brighton in the fifth. With two runners on, a line drive off the bat of Seeley Layne was turned into a double play to kill the rally.
In the bottom of the sixth Lauren Kinney and Ali Christmas each drove in a run to cut the lead to three, but another Hardin County double play squelched the rally.
Errors led to Hardin County's early lead.
“I wish it would have ended better for us, but that's the way it goes,” said Brighton head coach Robin Jacobs, whose team won the regular season district title. “We had some goals set and they were pretty lofty. We've got a good tradition and we're going to keep trying to get back to where we used to be.”