Staff Photo: John Bohn Brookwood left fielder Taiylor Rinehart (17) steals second base safely as Parkview short stop Eryn Stepp (9) lost control of the ball on this second inning play. The varsity softball game was played at Parkview High School on Tuesday.
LILBURN -- Experience often comes in handy, especially in the clutch.
It did for Brookwood in Tuesday's Region 8-AAAAA softball clash at neighborhood rival Parkview.
The top-ranked Broncos struck for five two-out runs in jumping out to a lead that pitcher Brandi Jones made stand up in a 10-1 Brookwood victory.
Jones limited the host Panthers (5-3, 2-1) to just three hits and one run and struck out 11 on the evening and got out of some early trouble spots when Parkview was able to put runners on base.
And the Broncos (14-1, 2-0) allowed the right-hander to get into a comfort zone by coming up big in the clutch in those same early innings, especially Jenny Blackwell, who went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, all of which came on two-out singles.
"In those situations, you have to put the ball in play," Brookwood coach Bill Batchelor said. "If you don't put it in play, you don't have a chance. We did a good job of putting the ball in play, not only with two outs, but with two strikes. We played real well."
Megan Litumbe was the first to do so by reaching Parkview starter Amanda Chambers (5-2) for a sacrifice fly to give Brookwood a 1-0 first-inning lead.
After an RBI fielder's choice grounder from Daniella Ulloa extended the lead to 2-0, Blackwell made it 3-0 with her first two-out, RBI hit in the top of the second.
Eryn Stepp pulled Parkview to within 3-1 when she led off the bottom of the second with a solo home run, and the Panthers threatened for more when Taylor Muirhead drew a one-out walk.
But Jones bore down to strike out Heather Rockwell and induce a pop to the circle from Grayson West to escape further damage, then got out of an even bigger jam by striking out Stepp with the tying runs on base with two outs in the third.
While the younger Panthers -- who are made up entirely of underclassmen -- could not come through with runners on and two outs, Blackwell and the senior-laden Broncos did in the fourth inning.
After a couple of odd baserunning occurrences -- a runner leaving a base too soon and a batter being hit by the ball in fair territory -- threatened to derail a scoring opportunity, the senior centerfielder looped a single into the outfield to bring home two runs and push the Brookwood lead to a more comfortable 5-1.
"I think I'm more relaxed (at the plate this season)," Blackwell said. "I'm just able to get the situation out of my head and just think about that one at-bat."
She did that again with another two-out, RBI single in the sixth before the Broncos applied the finishing touch with four runs in the seventh -- keyed by Litumbe's solo homer, a sacrifice fly by Emily Brantley and an RBI single by Susan Norris.
It ended a rough night for Parkview, which managed just singles by Patty Dennison and Ally Claytor in addition to Stepp's homer, and committed two errors in the field that led to three unearned runs.
"Brookwood's a good team. There's a reason they're (No. 1) in the state," Panthers coach Joey Farah said. "We came out and just didn't have it. I'm not sure what it was."
Jones, Brantley and Ambree Muller also had two hits each for Brookwood, while Litumbe finished with two RBIs.