Lady Brahmans advance to district championship

OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee High School Lady Brahman softball team pulled off an upset against the number two seeded Martin County Lady Tigers in the district semifinal.

Okeechobee ended the Lady Tigers’ postseason hopes with a 4-1 victory on April 30. The win now guarantees the Lady Brahmans a berth in the regional tournament.

The Lady Brahmans did all their damage with only one out left in the top of the fourth. After Faith Vest reached on a single, Halle Mcduffie doubled on a line drive into left field. Vest advanced home on a pitch that got by the Martin County catcher, then Lillian Henry blasted a grounder to center field to bring in another run. Henry also advanced to home on a ball that got by the catcher before Haley Underhill laid down a bunt to bring in the fourth Lady Brahman run in the inning.

Underhill pitched all seven innings for Okeechobee, allowing only three hits and one run.

It wouldn’t be softball without a little drama, and this district semifinal had a big dose of it in the sixth inning.

Lake Okeechobee News/Richard Marion
Lady Brahman Janel Aponte played as catcher behind the plate for all seven innings in the district semifinal against Martin County.

Martin County had loaded the bases with no outs when Lady Tiger Hannah Arnold stepped up to the plate. Arnold blasted an RBI double to the outfield, bringing in two runs. Martin County had one run brought in the fifth, so the score now stood at 4-3 with the Lady Tigers on the cusp of a rally.

But Okeechobee coach Mary Huff called time and spoke to the umpire about the bat Arnold had used to hit that RBI double. After examining the bat, the umpire declared the bat wasn’t officially certified to be used in FHSAA games. Instead of having an RBI double, Arnold was called out and two runs were pulled off the board.

Arnold and Martin County head coach Mike Cusimano were also ejected from the game.

Huff was aware of the bat rule because the Lady Brahmans found themselves on the receiving end of the same call earlier this season.

The call was a massive momentum swing and the Lady Brahmans pulled off a double play on the very next Martin County batter to get out of the inning.

Underhill was able to retire the next three Martin County batters in the bottom of the seventh and Okeechobee found themselves heading to the district championship.

Vest led the Lady Brahmans with three hits followed by Underhill with two. Underhill and Henry each had one RBI.

Okeechobee now moves on to battle South Fork for a district championship.

The championship game was originally scheduled for May 2 but had to be rescheduled due to inclement weather.

Now the Lady Brahmans will take on the South Fork Lady Bulldogs on May 5 at 1 p.m. in Jensen Beach.

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