GPS competed in a softball tournament on a Friday, so all coach Susan Crownover was looking for was the usual.
For whatever reason, the Bruisers under Crownover's guidance have been notoriously fast starters in regular-season tournaments -- in town or otherwise -- and Baylor's Hits for Hope tournament at Warner Park was no different. GPS was the only team to go 2-0 in the first day of play, defeating both Central and Sale Creek 6-0 in six innings.
"I think they get out of class on Friday, take a deep breath and they're ready to go," Crownover said. "That tells you something. If we did that all the time, we'd be in good shape."
The tournament continues today with pool play resuming at 9 a.m. Teams will be seeded according to pool-play records for single-elimination beginning at 2 p.m. The championship game is scheduled for 6:30.
Both Bruisers pitchers, Madi Stanley against the Lady Purple Pounders and Shelby Walters against the Lady Panthers, were plenty stingy. Stanley allowed one hit and had six strikeouts and Walters gave up two hits and struck out eight.
"We pitched the ball very well," Crownover said. "Both girls pitched well. We keep pitching that well, they're going to give us a chance to win a lot of games."
Crownover said that earlier in the season the top half of the batting order carried most of the offensive load, but the lower portion is starting to pick things up. No. 6 batter Taylor Battle was the Bruisers' overall offensive leader, going 4-for-6 in the two games with a triple, a double, three RBIs and two runs scored.
Stephanie George went 2-for-3 with a triple in the second game, drove in two runs and scored one. She also doubled in the first game. Kelby Crownover was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored in the first game and contributed a double against Sale Creek.
Stanley also had three hits on the night. She hit a home run in the nightcap, when Bailey Davenport going 2-for-4 and scoring a run.
Baylor had a chance to go 2-0-1 on the night, playing Christian Academy of Knoxville in a late game. The Lady Red Raiders ended up 2-2 with Arts & Sciences when the time limit expired after six innings, then cruised past South Pittsburg 21-1 in four innings.
Baylor, which had lost to the Class A Lady Patriots 5-3 the day before, scored an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth to gain the tie. Noelle Winkles went 3-for-3 and had an RBI for Baylor in that game.
Kiara Suttles' double drove in one of CSAS's runs; Angela Petula's fielder's choice drove in the other.
Crosby Huckabay, who had doubled against the Lady Patriots, went 3-for-4 with an RBI and scored three runs against the Lady Pirates. Kamrie Rich was 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs against South Pittsburg, and reliever Kari Watson was the wining pitcher.
The Lady Pirates earlier beat Class AA Grundy County 5-1 in five innings.
"We finally put a whole game together," South Pittsburg coach Vic Grider said after his team's first game.
Victoria Grider was 2-for-3 with an RBI in South Pittsburg's victory. Winning pitcher Savannah Sartain also was 2-for-3, and Emily Quick drove in two runs for the Lady Pirates.
Torie Scissom went 2-for-3 and scored the Lady Yellow Jackets' run.
Contact Kelley Smiddie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6653. Follow him 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.