The first day of action is complete in the Hits For Hope softball tournament being contested at Warner Park.
A total of 11 teams are competing in the two-day event where all of the money raised goes to benefit the Mary Ellen Locher Breast Cancer Foundation.
While most of the teams donned pink jerseys, pink socks and lots of pink ribbons in their hair, GPS and Christian Academy of Knoxville were the only two teams with more than one win.
GPS blanked Central by a 6-0 final in the opening round while the Bruisers beat Sale Creek by the same score.
The Lady Warriors had a bit more excitement in their games as freshman Carol Cavin's walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh lifted her team to a stirring 3-2 win over Arts & Sciences in their first game of the day.
Then in the final game of the evening, the Lady Warriors scored three runs in the first inning before erupting for six more in the sixth as they held off tournament host Baylor by a 9-2 final.
The Lady Red Raiders didn't have a chance to catch their breath as they scored a run in their final at-bat against CSAS in their first game to finish in a 2-2 tie. The second game against South Pittsburg was totally lopsided as Baylor scored early and often in a 21-1 victory.
While CAK heads Pool A with its two wins, GPS sits atop Pool B. St. Benedict leads Pool C after an 8-2 victory over Grundy County in its only game of the day.
GPS is playing pretty good softball these days and has now won three straight games following Tuesday's loss to Baylor.
"That was two good wins for us," said GPS coach Susan Crownover following the win over Sale Creek.
"We've been hitting the ball better and we're getting good pitching. With Madi Stanley and Shelby Walters in the circle, they give us a chance to win a lot of softball games. At the beginning of the year, it was the hitters at the top of our lineup getting the big hits, but in recent games, everyone from top to bottom is contributing.
"We're putting runners in scoring position and someone is driving them home, but we seem to enjoy playing on Friday night," Crownover said after her team improved to 10-3.
Stanley improved to 5-2 with the first-game win while Walters is now 5-0 after going the distance in the second game. She only allowed two hits while striking out eight.
Kelby Crownover, Taylor Battle and Stanley all had two hits in the first game while Bailey Davenport, Stephanie George and Battle all had two hits in the second game. Stanley ripped a solo homer and later added another RBI with a sacrifice fly while Hannah Kincer tripled before scoring a run and Crownover got another double in the second contest.
CAK improved to 23-4 with the win over Baylor.
Freshman Allison Zimmerman was the winning pitcher in both games, but the Lady Warriors may be the best team in the tournament.
"We came down here knowing that we'd be seeing a different style of softball with much better pitching than we're used to seeing," said CAK coach Dana Carter, who along with Harry Backhurst are co-head coaches.
"We have a young team as 10 of our 15 players are either eighth or ninth graders. We aren't as concerned with winning as much as we are competing at a high level and working to keep doing what we've been doing," Carter added.
Baylor coach Kelli Smith was visibly tired from a long day at the park, but she has total confidence that her Lady Red Raiders will bounce back on Saturday.
"I feel sure that we'll come back and play strong on Saturday, but it's all about where you finish in tournaments like this," Smith said as she headed toward the parking lot.
"Give CAK a lot of credit because they have a very good softball team. They hit the ball extremely well and they're solid on defense. In addition, they're getting quality pitching. We beat them by one run in the Brentwood tournament last year and we knew they were good. That's why we wanted them in our pool, but we knew it would be a tough game against them," Smith nodded.
Precious Birdsong led off the Baylor first with a walk and eventually scored the first run for the Lady Raiders. Then in the fifth inning with Baylor trailing 3-1, Birdsong's infield hit drove in Maya Mathis with their second run. Mathis was pinch running for pitcher Kayla Hughes.
Pool play continues on Saturday with games at 9, 10:30 and noon before teams start a single-elimination process leading to the championship semifinals at 5 with the championship set for 6:30.
FRIDAY'S FIRST-DAY RESULTS:
South Pittsburg 5, Grundy Co. 0
GPS 6, Central 0
CSAS 2, Baylor 2
Baylor 20, South Pittsburg 1
GPS 6, Sale Creek 0
CAK 3, CSAS 2
St. Benedict 8, Grundy Co. 2
Brentwood 5, Central 4
CAK 9, Baylor 2.
(email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@Comcast.net)