Gulf junior Madison Morlan pitched most of her team’s region semifinal loss to Hernando with a torn ligament in her foot, coach Rick Hohenthaner said Wednesday.
“In a strange way it makes it easier to accept the loss. We would’ve been done without her,” he said.
The injury happened in just the second at-bat of the game, when Hernando’s Ashley Sims pushed a ball over Morlan and she got hurt lunging for it.
Morlan told Hohenthaner she was injured but was fine to push through.
“When she got home she took her shoe off, and it just blew up,” he said. “It’s amazing and it doesn’t surprise me coming from her.”
Morlan showed signs of being off her game, not striking out a batter over the last four innings. But she did have a single and reached base twice on offense.
Nikki Sedivy’s home run had Gulf tied with the Leopards heading into the sixth inning, then Morlan allowed Courtney Riddle’s go-ahead two-run double.
“I told (Hernando) coach (Kevin) Bittinger, “Do us a favor and bring home a state championship,’ ” Hohenthaner said.
On Wednesday, Hernando learned its region final opponent will be St. Johns Creekside, which improved to 26-2 with a 6-0 afternoon win over North Marion.