It must be GPS's black and blue colors that make Baylor junior Haley Andrus see red.
Friday, Andrus had a seven-RBI game against the Lady Red Raiders' archrival for the second time in her high school career. This time she helped power them past the Bruisers 9-4 in a game that determined the East/Middle Region's No. 2 seeding for the Division II-AA state playoffs.
"The great thing is we do get to host," Baylor coach Kelli Smith said of next weekend's state quarterfinals. "We don't have to travel to Memphis."
Instead that's the fate that awaits GPS (21-7, 5-2), which will be the third-seeded team from the region. Coach Susan Crownover expects that to be a motivating factor.
"We've got to play better," Crownover said. "We've got to play well."
The Bruisers' woes Friday began early when Madi Stanley walked the bases loaded after getting a flyout. Then facing Andrus, Stanley found the strike zone with consecutive pitches -- the second ending up on the other side of the left-field fence.
"I was just waiting for a pitch I could do something with," Andrus said, "and she just happened to throw it."
Andrus, who had a three-homer, seven-RBI game against GPS in April 2011, added to her grand slam with a three-run double during a four-run fourth that made it 8-1. Stanley walked two in front of her that at-bat -- the hit coming on a 3-2 pitch -- and was pulled after walking Sarah Moore behind her.
"She just struggled mechanically," Crownover said of her junior right-hander. "She was leaning a little bit. When she stayed back she threw the ball well. We need to work on that this week, and I know she'll come back ready to work. You can't give up free bases, and we know that. Solo homers don't kill you. Three- and four-run homers do."
Moore took a five-hitter with five strikeouts into the seventh, but three of her five walks came in that inning and two preceded Abbey Anderson's home run. LeeAnn Jackson was robbed of a two-run homer by right fielder Precious Birdsong for the final out.
"She got tired possibly," Smith said of her senior right-hander. "Afterward I told her, 'Great game, and don't be discouraged by that last inning.' It's always a team effort. Precious came up with a big play there."
Andrus and Crosby Huckabay were each 2-for-4 for Baylor (30-6, 6-1). Lauren Lewis was one of three Lady Raiders to walk twice. Once was with the bases loaded, and she scored both times.
Anderson was 2-for-4 for the Bruisers,and her other hit was a double. Bailey Davenport's two-out double drove in their first run in the third.
Contact Kelley Smiddie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6653. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/KelleySmiddie.
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 email@example.com.