GPS going three up, three down in the first inning Thursday wasn't a good indication of things to come. The Bruisers' 10-run second inning was more like it.
In a TSSAA Division II-AA best-of-three softball sub-state series, the Bruisers disposed of St. Agnes 13-0 and 13-3 in five-inning games at GPS and earned a berth in next week's state tournament at Murfreesboro. That begins Tuesday.
Katy Richardson grounded a single up the middle leading off the bottom of the second inning. Morgan Lane followed with a single, and her second time up in the inning she hit a two-run double. Lee Ann Jackson hit two doubles that inning -- the first driving in two runs and the second driving in one.
GPS (23-11) hadn't played since May 8. St. Agnes ended 12-17.
"I don't care who you're playing, if you haven't played in a long time it's hard to settle in," GPS coach Susan Crownover said. "Once we got in the moment, we started doing better. We hit the ball pretty well."
In each game the Bruisers ended up totaling more hits than outs -- a 14-to-12 ratio in the opener and a 17-to-15 count as the visitors in the second. Lane, who had two doubles, and Kelby Crownover had the most productive days, each going 4-for-5 with four RBIs and four runs scored.
Richardson also was 4-for-5 with a double and drove in two runs, and Madison Boyd was 4-for-7 with an RBI and three runs scored. Jackson's three hits were all doubles and she totaled four RBIs, and Bailey Davenport and Stephanie George also had three hits each, with Davenport scoring three runs. No. 9 batter Abbey Anderson doubled, singled and batted in three runs.
Corey Swafford threw a one-hitter with no walks and two strikeouts in the first game. Madi Stanley allowed four hits and five walks while striking out four in the second game.
"Corey threw the ball well," Coach Crownover said. "Madi struggled to throw strikes. Both of them were sick. I'm glad we got as much out of them as we did."
Among the GPS reserves, Mackenzie Hobbs hit a run-scoring single in the opener and Haley Richardson did the same in the second game in addition to making a diving catch in foul territory and throwing a runner out at first base from right field. Boyd started both games in right field but moved to center after Richardson substituted in.
"She'll do anything you ask -- dive into fences, whatever," Boyd said. "These are the type of games that allow some of the ones that don't get to play much get in there. They practice just as hard as we do, if not harder. They support us when we're out there. It feels really good to see them get the chance to play and support them."
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.