Baylor, GPS Meet For D-II State Softball Title

Both Teams Beat Pope John Paul II On Thursday

Thursday, May 22, 2014 - by John Hunt

MURFREESBORO – The Baylor Lady Red Raider softball team just keeps on winning.  So do the GPS Bruisers.

Baylor beat Pope John Paul II in the winners bracket final here at the StarPlex Field No. 3 by a commanding 10-2 final Thursday afternoon.

The Bruisers followed with a 6-3 over PJP, so it will be a Baylor-GPS clash for the sixth time this season, this one being for all the marbles in Division II.

The game is set to begin at 12:30 (CST) on Field No. 3 at the StarPlex.  If GPS wins, the second would be on the same field at 5:30.

“That was the longest game for such a lopsided score,” said Baylor coach Kelli Smith once the game finally ended.

“We hit the ball better today.  Lauren Lewis had a big shot and Noelle Winkles came through again, but our team speed paid off as much as anything.  We’ve worked really hard to get to this point, but we’re excited that we get to play for another state championship tomorrow,” Smith added.

The Baylor offense was a bit slow getting started on a hot and dusty afternoon, but the bats started swinging in the third when they took a 4-0 lead.

Cheyenne Lindsay poked  a one-out single before Precious Birdsong reached on a bunt.  Both came around to score when Noelle Winkles ripped a two-run single up the middle.  Haley Andrus then lined hard to second for the second out.  Lauren Lewis then smashed a 3-2 pitch over the fence in right-center for the third and fourth runs.

The Lady Raiders added five more in the fifth when they batted around.

Andrus led off with a single before Lewis walked.  Both advanced on a balk before Andrus scored on a single by Crosby Huckabay.  Kayla Hughes, A.J. Johnson and Lindsay all followed with RBI singles while a fifth run scored on a fielders choice when Baylor baserunners totally confused the Lady Knights and Lindsay beat the throw home.

Johnson had an RBI-single in the sixth to score Andrus for Baylor’s final run.

Pope John Paul got on the board in the fifth when Chelsey Smith ripped a two-out solo homer while a groundout by Allie McDonald in the bottom of the seventh sent home Smith with the second run.

Kayla Hughes was the winning pitcher for Baylor as she went five innings, allowing one run on four hits while walking  three and striking out one.  Freshman Kayley Quinn pitched the final two innings.

McDonald was tagged with the loss after givingup six runs on eight hits in four-plus innings of work.  She was replaced by Chelsey Stephenson with two on a nobody out in the fifth.

Birdsong and Huckabay both had three hits for the Lady Raiders while Andrus, Lewis and Johnson all finished with two apiece.

Smith was the only Lady Knight with two hits and she also scored both of their runs.  Taylor Williams, Savannah Lewis and Chelsea Fair all had a single for Pope John Paul.

GPS got a sacrifice fly from Hannah Kincer to score Bailey Davenport, who had led off the game with a scorching double before being sacrificed to third by Kelby Crownover.

That 1-0 lead for GPS was turned around when the Lady Knights scored three runs in the fourth on three hits.  Alexis Williams had a two-run single while Chelsey Stephenson scored on a passed ball.

The Bruisers were down, but certainly not out as they responded with five runs in the fifth to settle the issue.

Taylor Battle walked to lead off before Stephanie George singled.  Haley Richardson then came through to tie the score with a two-run single.

Abbey Anderson and Davenport then walked and both advanced a base before a sacrifice fly by Crownover drove in Anderson with the fourth run.  Haley Smith then put a little icing on the cake with a two-run double to left.

"We won and it was exciting," said GPS coach Susan Crownover after the comeback win.

"We were struggling as our energy level had been zapped when they took the lead, but we got with it in the fifth and answered the call.  That was a good come-from-behind win for this team.  Madi buckled down after a rough fourth and she really battled.

"It's all about how you play the cards you're dealt.  Now we get another chance to play Baylor.  It should be another great game," the veteran coach added.

Stanley was the winning pitcher after allowing three runs on four hits.  She didn't have any walks and she struck out eight.  She also hit three Lady Knights.

Pope John Paul ends its season at 29-13.

SODDY DAISY LOST a 6-4 decision to Dickson County in the winners bracket final in the AAA tournament.

The Lady Trojans face Gibbs on Friday morning at 9 local time and would play Dickson Co. again at 3 with a win over the Lady Eagles.  If Dickson Co. should lose its first game, the second game would follow at 6:30.

BAYLOR   004 051 0 – 10 17 2

POPE JOHN PAUL II   000 010 1 – 2 5 1

Hughes, Quinn (6) and Rich; McDonald, Stephenson (5) and Lewis.

POPE JOHN PAUL II  000 300 0 -- 3 4 1

GPS     100 050 x -- 6 7 1

Stephenson and Lewis; Stanley and Hobbs.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)


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