Sometimes an injury takes a player out of the game.
In the case of pitcher Beth Ann Hamilton, a fluke injury took her to another level.
In warmups before the third inning at Paul Laurence Dunbar, a throw that was supposed to go from the catcher to second base was off and squarely hit Hamilton in her shoulder blade.
But after being tended to for a few minutes, the eighth-grader brushed off the injury and led the visiting Devils to a 7-0 win over Dunbar on Thursday night.
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Coach Chris Hould said Hamilton didn't want to be taken out of the game.
"Every time I come out (to the mound), she thinks I'm going to pull her," Hould said laughing. "The thing about Beth Ann is she wants to battle. She wants to win."
Hamilton allowed only two hits and fanned 10 Bulldogs in seven innings. She allowed just one hit and struck out eight after catcher Emily Miller's errant throw.
"Sure, it's my fault for her good game," Miller said sheepishly. "I just felt so, so bad about what happened."
Hamilton said there were no hurt feelings.
"She apologized and I was like, 'It's OK. It's OK. It's no big deal,' " Hamilton explained.
Miller's timely hit an inning before probably took some of the sting out of Hamilton's bruised back. The seventh-grade catcher's two-run double to deep left field gave Henry Clay a 2-0 lead.
A batter later, Hamilton's double sent in Miller to give the Devils a 3-0 cushion.
"If we can score some runs early and take some pressure off, you can see how well they play," Hould said.
The coach said he wasn't sure what to expect after last weekend, when the Devils played in a talent-laden tournament in Owensboro and managed only five hits in four games.
Since returning home, the Devils have won five in a row, outscoring those opponents 59-7.
"The past couple of games have really boosted the team's confidence," Hamilton said.
Hould hopes it's a sign of things to come for Henry Clay as post-season play begins in less than two weeks.
"We've really struggled some offensively this year," he said. "We're a team that's got to have timely hitting, but in the last three or four days, something has clicked."
The Devils left little doubt who would win on Thursday night with a four-run fourth inning mired by Dunbar fielding miscues.
Henry Clay 030 400 0—7 8 2
Paul Dunbar 000 000 0—0 2 3
Beth Ann Hamilton and Emily Miller. Kaylie Zander and Stephanie Harvey, Rachel Ferguson (5). W—Hamilton. L—Zander. 2B—Hamilton (HC), Miller (HC).
Records — Henry Clay 10-13, Paul Laurence Dunbar 12-12.