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Lady Minutemen stung at the Hive

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Brookville stuns Liberty softballers

By Mike Forster

  The phases of grief include denial, shock, grief and anger.

The Liberty Lady Minutemen got to experience all of those emotions during a stunning loss to Brookville on Friday night.

The Bees exploded for seven runs in a horrific fifth inning, en route to a 7-6 win at the Beehive.

Take away that one inning, and Liberty looked dominant.  Stick it back in, and the Bees are in control of the Seminole District.  After topping Jefferson Forest and, now, Liberty on consecutive Friday nights, that's exactly where the Bees find themselves (along with Amherst).

It didn't look like that was going to happen.

Liberty broke out to an early 2-0 lead.  Morgan Wood opened the game with a walk.  KiKi Jones sacrificed her over to second.  From there, Woods came in on Jamie Bennett's single to right field.  

Sammy Baldwin knocked another single to right, to put runners on the corners.  Baldwin's steal of second induced Brookville to try some trickery that backfired.  That's because Bennett scooted home on an overthrow when the Bees caught her in a game of pickle.

Liberty's Cassidy Hensley and Brookville's Morgan Bruce pitched in near flawless fashion through the fourth inning.  At that point, the Liberty lead remained 2-0.

In the fifth, things seemed to be going the Lady Minutemen's way.  They upped their lead to 5-0.

Wood opened the top of the fifth by mauling a double to left center field.  Jones followed with a double to bring home Wood.

Baldwin smacked a double to right (her fifth-straight hit since returning from an injury) to make it 4-0.

Stacey Campbell then blazed a single to right to bring home Katie Martin, who was pinch running for Sammie.

Trailing 5-0, Brookville showed maturity beyond its years.  It seized the bottom of the fifth and absolutely pounded it.

Kristen Zurlippe started the Bee-nanza by leading off the inning with a double to left.  Elexis Jeffries bunted her way aboard before Vivian Maddox walked.

A steady procession of Brookvillians then made their way to the plate.  The highlight (from a Bee perspective) was pitcher Bruce's three-RBI double.

When the carnage was over, the scoreboard read:  Home 7, Visitors 5.

But those visitors weren't done.  In the top of the seventh, Bennett hit a one-out single over second base.

Baldwin hit another double to right, to make it 7-6.  But the Lady Minutemen were unable to bring home the tying run as Bruce bore down for the final two outs.

"I was proud of them though," said Liberty Head Coach Jeff Monroe.   "Because they could have given up after Brookville took the lead, but they kept fighting."

Monroe correctly noted, "There is still a lot of season left."

One thing that the coach didn't have to state is what a dogfight the Seminole is shaping up to be.    The bet here is that the eventual winner of the district will wind up with two, perhaps three, losses.

Liberty just picked up its first loss in district play.

By the way, there's one other phase to the grieving process:  acceptance.

It's the bet here that the Lady Minutemen will accept the defeat, move on and inflict some grief on future opponents.