GPS became the first Chattanooga-area team to earn a spot in next week's state tournament Thursday when the Bruisers defeated Briarcrest 15-0 and 11-2 in a best-of-three sub-state series at Memphis.
GPS (21-9) will play the winner of the best-of-three series between Ensworth and Baylor, which features a doubleheader today at Baylor scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m.
The Bruisers' Madi Stanley was the starting pitcher in the opener and struck out the first eight she faced before fielding a roller back to her and throwing to first to complete the three-inning game. Taylor Battle went 3-for-3 and had four RBIs and Stanley was 2-for-3 and drove in two runs.
"We hit it pretty well," GPS coach Susan Crownover said. "We wore it out in the first game."
There was a three-hour delay between games because of a Briarcrest school function and the Bruisers started slow in the second game. They trailed 2-1 before Hannah Kincer's home run sparked a five-run rally in the fifth, and they added five more in the sixth.
"We didn't have a lot of focus early on," Crownover said. "We gave up a home run in the first inning, and it kind of shook us. We kept leaving people on base. Every time we'd get people on we'd pop it up. Hannah's home run kind of got us going. We started hitting it really well after that."
Kincer, who also tripled and doubled, and Stephanie George, who doubled twice, each went 3-for-4 with three RBIs. GPS's Kelby Crownover was 4-for-5 on the day and scored six runs.
Soddy-Daisy wins 3-AAA
Tonight at 6 Soddy-Daisy will host Oakland, which lost 4-0 to Coffee County in Thursday's Region 4-AAA final, in a state sectional to be determined. The Lady Trojans beat Cookeville 6-4 for the Region 3 championship Wednesday as declared by the TSSAA after the game was stopped by rain in the seventh inning.
Soddy-Daisy batted around after the first two made outs and scored five runs in the first inning. Cookeville had put up a run in the top half.
Haley Reynolds walked, then Grayson Brown and Shana Ward hit singles. Hannah Smith singled to score the first run in front of Savannah Moore, who reached on an error to bring in another. Abby Walker, who ended up 3-for-3, hit a two-run single and Jessica Boles reach on an error to score the fifth.
Shonna Penney pitched into the sixth, allowing one run in the fourth and two in the sixth. She escaped a jam in the fifth by striking out Bety Lopez, who hit a long double earlier with two runners on.
With the score cut to 5-4, Soddy-Daisy increased its lead in the sixth. Grayson Brown was hit by a pitch, and Gracie Ratledge came in as a pinch-runner. She stole second and scored when Shana Ward reached on an error, again with two outs.
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.