Winkles' Homer Lifts Baylor Past GPS, 2-1

Lady Red Raiders Now 36-5 After Fifth-Straight Win Over Bruisers

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - by John Hunt

MURFREESBORO -- The GPS Bruisers are going to beat Baylor in softball one of these days, but it's not soon enough for GPS coach Susan Crownover.

Close may count in horseshoes and hand grenades, but not in high school softball.  Crownover certainly isn't into moral victories.

Even though Madi Stanley outpitched Kayla Hughes and GPS had a 7-4 advantage in hits, the result was the same for the fifth straight time this spring as Baylor prevailed by a 2-1 margin.

"We outhit them again and played well enough to win, but we can't get a hit with runners in scoring position to save our life," Crownover said after the Bruisers fell to 21-10 for the season.

"Madi Stanley pitched her heart out and we made some great plays on defense, but we just couldn't get the big hit to put us over the top.  Madi made one bad pitch and it cost her.  We played very well, but it's the same result again.  Playing well and still losing doesn't make me feel any better," the veteran GPS coach added.

Baylor was the visiting team and did its scoring right out of the chute.

Leadoff hitter Precious Birdsong appeared to strike out on a 3-2 pitch, but the umpire ruled that Stanley had made an illegal pitch, which put the speedy Birdsong on first.  Stanley then had Noelle Winkles in an 0-2 hole before the Baylor center fielder ripped a pitch over the fence in right center for a 2-0 lead.

GPS scored its only run in the second.  Taylor Battle led off with an infield hit before stealing second and then going to third on a single by Stephanie George.  Hughes then got the first out on a come-backer before Abbey Anderson drove in the run with a grounder to first.

The Bruisers left at least one runner on base in every inning except the fourth, including the sixth when Battle reached on a two-out triple, but the sophomore Hughes was more than ready for the challenge.  She did a lot of bending, but never broke as Baylor pulled another close one out.

"I'm very happy with how I pitched as I just went out there, tried to relax and hit my spots.  I know that I have a solid defense behind me and they were outstanding again.  The play that Haley Andrus made at third in the seventh was a game-changer," Hughes explained.

The play she was referring to was in the final inning when Haley Richardson led off with a single and replaced by courtesy runner Lilly Berger.  She was sacrificed to second by Anderson.  Bailey Davenport then ripped a scorching grounder to third, but Andrus made a clean scoop before firing a strike to first for the second out.  Kelby Crownover then popped to the catcher in foul territory to end the game.

Baylor coach Kelli Smith was quick to give credit where credit was due.

"Madi Stanley has pitched well all season and she pitched exceptionally well tonight.  She's probably the best pitcher we've faced all year.  But the big hit by Noelle Winkles in the first was fantastic and Kayla Hughes pitched another great game.

"She wasn't overpowering, but she had a good defense behind her.  We have a lot of confidence when she's pitching.  Games like this seem to bring out the best in everybody.  I'm so happy that we have tomorrow off, but I can promise you that we'll do some hitting," Smith added.

Hughes was the winning pitcher after allowing seven hits and a walk along with the one run.  She only had one strikeout.

Stanley allowed four hits and three walks while striking out nine and hitting one.

While Winkles had the big two-run homer in the first, first baseman Crosby Huckabay had a two-out double in the first before adding a single in the sixth.  Eighth-grade catcher Kamrie Rich had the only other Baylor hit, a line single to left in the seventh.

While Baylor has the day off on Wednesday, GPS returns to action on Wednesday at 5:30 (CST) against the Pope John Paul II-St. Benedict loser.  Baylor will play the winner of that game on Thursday at 11:30 local time.

BAYLOR   200 000 0 -- 2 4 1

GPS         010 000 0 -- 1 7 0

Hughes and Rich; Stanley and Hobbs.

(email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@Comcast.net)



Heights Hawks Knock Off Bolton 67-65 In Final Seconds

The Hawks of Hamilton Heights defeated Bolton High School, 67-65, late Friday night in the Bolton High Invitational in Memphis. Hamilton Heights (9-2) got back-to-back 3-pointers by Kevaughn Ellis and Sampson Ruzhentsev for a six-point lead in the final 30 seconds. The host Panthers scored to slice their deficit to four points and after a traveling violation on the Hawks, Bolton ... (click for more)

PHOTOS: Lady Rams Edge Lady Panthers, 49-48

Home In Alton Park Damaged By Fire Friday Morning

No injuries were reported in connection with a house fire in Alton Park Friday morning. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm around  8:30 a.m.  and responded to 4020 Highland Ave. with five fire companies. When the first firefighters arrived on the scene, one of the residents of the house was concerned this his wife might still be inside. The firefighters ... (click for more)

Pedestrian Struck And Severely Injured In East Ridge Thursday Night

The East Ridge Police Department is investigating a motor vehicle collision involving a pedestrian being struck  at 5300 Ringgold Road on Thursday around  10 p.m. Officers arrived and found that East Ridge resident Dale Henderson had been struck by a vehicle and was suffering from severe injuries. It appears he attempted to cross Ringgold Road in front ... (click for more)

The Growing Monopoly

Over the last decade, five tech giants have risen to the top, and created, discovered and invented services and products that have made these companies worth billions today. Those five, of course, are Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. Each of these companies are responsible for several products and services that we use in our everyday lives. They have devoured the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

This week, as two men greeted one another at the steps leading to a holiday party, one said, “My wife is angel,” this in keeping with the season. The other replied, “You’re lucky … mine is still alive.” Once inside, the two walked into this conversation – “We had a power outage at our house this morning. So, my PC, laptop, TV, DVD, iPad and new surround sound music system were ... (click for more)