On Senior Night, a freshman steps out for HHS
HUNTINGTON -- On senior night for Huntington High softball, it was freshman Madison Howell who stole the show, pitching a complete game and hitting a two-run home run as the Highlanders defeated Chesapeake, 3-1, Friday evening.
Chesapeake's only run came on an error in the top of the third inning, but it looked like that might be enough with weather conditions worsening, the temperature dropping and Huntington High's bats ice cold.
But senior Laura Collins drew a walk to start the bottom of the fourth inning, and Howell immediately followed with a home run blast over the left center fence. It was only the second homer of the year for Huntington High, and the first for the freshman.
Two quick outs followed the homer, but the Highlanders generated a two-out rally, with senior Griffith Prestera getting a single -- the first hit of her career -- followed by a hit from center fielder Madison Haymaker. Morgan Sawyers brought Prestera home with a third straight single.
The late throw home allowed Haymaker to get to third and Sawyers to take second, but a strikeout got Chesapeake out of the inning without any further damage.
The Panthers got runners on base in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but Howell was able to work her way out of each jam to deliver the win.
"She's hard-nosed, she's a coachable girl, and we've got three more years with her so hopefully she'll continue to get better," said Highlanders coach Darren Woody. "We played good defense when we needed to. Maddie has to work on some things and she got herself into some situations, but she got herself out of them. She's just a ninth-grader."
Prestera just joined the team this season in her senior year of high school and hasn't seen the field much, but played the entire game Friday, with Woody grabbing the ball from her first hit for her to keep.
Collins has been with the team for four years, and has been a field general for this season's somewhat under-manned team from the catcher position.
After the game Prestera thanked the team for accepting her, and ribbed Woody for mistakenly calling her "Griffin" for most of the season.
Collins also addressed the team, calling them "the best teammates I could ever ask for."
She addressed each teammate with encouraging words, and told the underclassmen to look to their older teammates so they will know how to bring up younger players when it's their time to do so.
CHESAPEAKE 001 000 0 -- 1 4 3
HUNTINGTON HIGH 000 300 x -- 3 6 3
Noble and Huff; Howell and Collins
Hitting: (H) Howell HR, 2 RBIs, Sawyers 2-4, RBI.