MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — It would seem like a good sign for a pitcher when the first batter faced lines an apparent hit to right field, only to be thrown out at first base. It becomes magnified when that team loads the bases afterward.
Working around seven walks, Baylor softball pitcher Kaitie Sims can thank her defense for lowering her earned run average in the Lady Raiders' 9-0 victory over Pope John Paul II in a TSSAA Divison II-AA game Wednesday at McKnight No. 3.
Baylor (31-7) will take on rival GS (16-13) today at approximately 1 p.m. EDT in the winners-bracket final at Starplex No. 3.
Precious Birdsong is the Lady Raiders' right fielder who made the opening defensive play. Two of Sims' walks were later in the inning.
Two more of Sims' walks were followed by double plays — both started by third baseman Haley Andrus. She caught a popup in the second inning and doubled a runner off first base and fielded a chopper and threw to second baseman Lindsey Yates, who threw to first baseman Kelsie Clark in the fifth.
Shortstop Sarah Moore made a diving tag on a runner headed to third that averted another bases-loaded situation in the sixth.
“Obviously we don't want that many walks in a game,” Baylor coach Kelli Smith said. “You have to give credit to the defense today. That helped with the shutout.”
Conversely, Baylor received nine walks and five scored. Seven of its nine hits were singles.
“The wind was really blowing in, sometimes extemely hard,” said Smith, whose team left the bases loaded three times. “Our speed athletes helped out a little bit. The bottom of our order got things started a couple of times.”
No. 8 batter Yates was on base four times, including two singles and a walk, and scored twice. Moore was 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored and Braleigh Angel was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.
Sims finished with a three-hitter with three strikeouts.
* Bledsoe County 1, Chester County 0: At Starplex No. 2, the Lady Warriors outlasted Chester County in 10 innings in a Class AA losers-bracket game for the school’s first state-tournament victory.
Bledsoe (28-12) will play today at approximately 1 p.m. EDT today against Central (29-13).
With the international tiebreaker in effect, Bledsoe’s Victoria Roberson began the top of the 10th inning on second base. After a sacrifice bunt, the Lady Warriors also had Faith Forgey bunt. It was mishandled, which gave Roberson enough time to get to the plate and slide in ahead of the tag.
“We've not had a whole lot of extra-inning games, but we've pulled off a few at the ends of games,” Bledsoe coach Janice Ritchie said. “The girls were pepped up and went the distance. We weren't flawless, but we overcame our mistakes.”
Winning pitcher Lydia Ritchie allowed six hits and two walks while striking out six.
* Goodpasture 2, Central 0: Sara Walker's single leading off the bottom of the fifth inning was the only hit off the Lady Cougars' Cheyanne Knepper, who will PLAY at the University at Buffalo next season. Knepper walked one and struck out five.