The Silverdale Baptist Academy Lady Seahawks got off on the right foot Friday morning in the first game of pool play in the 24th Annual Lady Trojan Invitational softball tournament at the Kids Park in Soddy Daisy.
Despite a couple of key players being away for the day, the Lady Seahawks didn't miss a beat as they scored three runs in the first inning before getting two more in the third en route to a 5-1 victory over the East Hamilton Lady Hurricanes.
Unfortunately, things didn't go as well later in the day as the Lady Seahawks lost to Powell and Sequatchie County.
The defensive wheels fell off in the 12-2 loss to Powell while the Lady Seahawks dropped a 6-5 decision to the Lady Indians after Elise Pearson had knotted the score with her second home run of the day.
In the win against East Hamilton, Allison Meadows led off Silverdale's half of the first with a bloop double just down the line in left. One out later, she came racing home when Lindsey Newell ripped a double off the fence in right-center.
Pearson then made it 3-0 with a two-run homer to center.
Skylar Parton reached on an East Hamilton error with one out in the third. Newell and Pearson both followed with singles to load the bases before winning pitcher Emily Harkleroad lined a single to left to score Parton. Maddi Hancock's sacrifice fly to center drove in Newell.
Those five runs were more than enough support for the freshman Harkleroad, who improved to 12-3 with the victory.
East Hamilton only had one inning that resembled a rally. Kelsey Payne led off the fourth with a single and went to second on a single by Tori Barnes.
Harkleroad never flinched as she retired the next three hitters.
The Lady Hurricanes avoided a shutout in the fifth when Alyssa Strickler hit a solo homer to left that rolled across Highway 27.
Harkleroad allowed the one run on three hits while striking out three and walking one. Rachel Gamble was tagged with the loss after surrendering all five runs on eight hits. She had one strikeout and no walks.
"I'm feeling better now that game is out of the way," said Silverdale coach Tim Couch after his team won for the 16th time in 21 games.
"I've coached a lot of those girls and we have a good, competitive rivalry with them. They're also one of the better teams in the city, so this is a big win for us. We were missing a couple of players, but that just gave a few others the chance to step up.
"And of course, Emily pitched well," Couch nodded.
East Hamilton coach Norma Nelson knows that her team is capable of playing much better, but they didn't show it in this game.
"I think we left our bats in Florida, but we just didn't play well in any aspect of the game," Nelson said after her team's record dropped to 18-7.
"I don't know what the problem was, but we just didn't hit the ball today. We have to be better than that, but give Silverdale a lot of credit. They hit it well and they made the big plays when they had to have them," she added.
Newell and Pearson were the only Silverdale players with two hits. Kirby Howard, Falyn Blaylock, Meadows and Harkleroad all had a single as well.
EAST HAMILTON 000 01 -- 1 3 2
SILVERDALE 302 0x -- 5 8 0
Gamble and Brooks; Harkleroad and Million.
(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@Comcast.net)