McDonald’s rallies to dominate Jackson-Milton, 8-5 | News, Sports, Jobs

Staff Photo / Greg Macafee McDonald’s Jenna Helco heads home Wednesday night against Jackson-Milton in their section final match.

MCDONALD — From the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat, postseason softball offers a range of emotions for everyone involved.

Such was the case when Jackson-Milton visited McDonald’s on Wednesday. Trailing 5-3, late in the fifth, the Blue Devils came from behind and kept their season alive with an 8-5 triumph.

“We were down” McDonald’s coach Michelle Titus said. “We never go into a game expecting to win. We always respect our opponents.

“We just want to focus on doing our best. If our best isn’t good enough, then it’s not good enough. It’s always about giving our best, and that’s what we did to come back.

The Devils certainly did. Freshman Gianna Mancini was a shy home run to hit for the cycle after blasting a Grand Slam home run in the previous game. The grand slam was the first in 10 years for McDonald’s. She scored in the fifth and sixth, as the Devils came back.

“It was intense today” said Mancini. “It was a bit scary but we came back. We stayed positive and got the win. Hopefully we can keep winning. We just have to stay positive.

Another Blue Devil who always brings diamond positivity is senior Lucia Wolford. The smooth-fielding shortstop made a terrific diving catch to end the ball game.

“We didn’t have the energy we needed at the start,” Wolford said. “Then we started knocking. We all got up. The other three seniors (Anjalena Exline, Riley Matig, Chelsea Sudol), and myself calmed down the younger ones. We told them it was okay to make a mistake. Don’t let them build.

“Jackson-Milton came out strong. They’re a good team.”

Jackson-Milton senior shortstop Chelsea Williams hit a brace and came on to score to put the Blue Jays up 1-0 in the lead of the first.

Williams and fellow senior Kylie Wilson drove through the plate in the top of the third as the Jays came out hot.

“I’m so proud of my daughters” Jackson-Milton coach Mariah Ciccolelli said. “We started off hot. Our bats have been hot for the past few weeks. We wanted to be here. We just couldn’t keep up with them.

“Macayle Thornhill started the whole game for us. She was phenomenal. She suffered a quad injury. She kept her composure despite all the pressure on her shoulders.

Bri McCombs pitched a full game for McDonald’s (13-1). She singled, driving Wolford with the final innings of the match, before throwing a 1-2-3 top from the seventh.

“They are both leaders” said Titus. “They do a good job of controlling the team and their good teammates.”

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