East Hamilton Loses Class AA Softball Opener, 12-6

Payne Homers Twice, But Chester Co. Prevails In Slugfest

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - by John Hunt
- photo by Greg Davick

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. --East Hamilton picked a terrible time to play their worst softball game of the season.

The Lady Hurricanes have a productive offense and collected 10 hits en route to scoring six runs.

Unfortunately, the defense didn't do its part as they committed seven errors, which was one of the biggest reasons East Hamilton went straight to the losers bracket after dropping a 12-6 verdict to the Chester County Eaglettes.

"I'm really disappointed as we basically beat ourselves," said East Hamilton coach Cara Stiles after her team dropped to 25-13-2 for the season.

"The good news is that we're still here, but we just made a very long road for ourselves.  That was our best chance to stay in the winners bracket and we just played our worst game of the year.  Just so happens that it comes at the most important time.

"We hit the ball well enough to win and Maria Walshe pitched well enough to win, but we were just guessing at the plate.  We weren't attacking on offense like we should have been.  They didn't earn that win as much as we gave it to them," Stiles said after admitting that Friday was her 28th birthday.

Chester County took a 1-0 lead in the second before East Hamilton regained the advantage in the third when Kelsey Payne slugged a three-run homer.

The Eaglettes then took the lead for the final time with five runs in the fourth.  Two more scores in the fifth extended the difference to 8-3 while a four-run sixth basically put the game out of reach.

While Payne was the early hero, Tori Barnes drove in the fourth run in the fifth.  Her single to left, drove in Maggie Woods, who had led off the inning with a double.  Payne followed with a single before Walshe reached on a bunt single.  Payne went to third on a fielder's choice by Amber Phillips before scoring on a wild pitch.

Chester County's four-run sixth was highlighted by a three-run homer just inside the foul pole in left by pitcher Sammie Jo Ivey.

With the Lady Hurricanes down by seven runs in their final at-bat, Payne slugged her second homer -- a solo shot to right -- to conclude the scoring before Ivey ended the game with her 12th strikeout.

"East Hamilton has a great hitting team, but we just took advantage of their mistakes tonight," said Chester County coach Brandon Pipkin after his team improved to 29-12.

"Take away all of their errors and we still have a close game.  But we're playing our best softball right now and we've been hitting it well lately.  Sammie Jo is a grinder who normally doesn't get down on herself.  She didn't have her best game today, but it was good enough," he added.

The Eaglettes finished with 14 hits, including two each by Madison McCaskill, Presley Beth Robinson, Cynthia Beene, Jana Frye and Ivy.  Presley included a two-run homer while McCaskill's big blow was a three-run double in the fourth.

Payne had three hits to lead the Lady Hurricanes and scored three times while driving in four runs.  Shaliyah Geathers and Woods both had two hits while Barnes, Walshe and Rachel Gamble all finished with one apiece.

Chester County will face Gibbs on Wednesday afternoon while East Hamilton is slated to face Greenbrier on Wednesday morning at 12:30 Chattanooga time.

The weather forecast isn't very promising as heavy rain is predicted for most of the day Wednesday.

East Hamilton   003 020 1 -- 6 10 7

Chester Co.      010 524 x -- 12 14 0

Walshe and Brooks; Ivy and Robinson.

(email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)

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