This Time GPS Had All The Answers For Baylor In Softball Title Games

Strong-Willed Bruisers Revel In Ending The Lady Red Raiders Jinx

Saturday, May 24, 2014 - by Larry Fleming

MURFREESBOR0, Tenn. – Five was enough.

Girls Preparatory School’s softball team was fed up with losing to rival Baylor.

The Lady Red Raiders had won five straight games from the Bruisers coming into the 2014 Division II-AA state tournament and then won again in the opening game of the four-day event at the Starplex on Tuesday.

GPS then got down to work.

The Bruisers beat St. Benedict to start the tough grind through the loser’s bracket. Then Pope John Paul II fell to the Bruisers en route to the championship game on Friday.

There was Baylor, ranked No. 1 in the state in the latest coachT.com poll.

Again.

“We knew what we came here to do,” GPS' star pitcher Madi Stanley said. “We were determined.”

In the first title game, Stanley fired a three-hit shutout in a 2-0 win and helped snap the Lady Red Raiders’ 22-game winning streak. That had to sting.

Three hours later, Stanley was matched up again with Baylor stalwart Kayla Hughes.

Neither pitcher dominated, but the Bruisers, ranked No. 2, battered Hughes for 18 hits and 13 runs to give Stanley all the offensive support – and then some – she needed to finish off a superlative tournament.

After losing to Baylor on Tuesday, Stanley reeled off four consecutive wins and helped the Bruisers win their eighth state title and first since 2010. They left Murfreesboro with a 52-20 all-time record in the state tourney.

“I think most everyone doubted us today,” Stanley said. “Baylor is a great team. We lost to them five before today, they were going for their fourth straight championship and our spirits should have been down. But everyone on this team came ready to play and we did it. We beat Baylor twice.”

In five appearances, Stanley threw four complete games, worked 32 innings and struck out 33 while walking just six – one in the last three games.

Her ERA for the tournament was 2.65 and she gave up more earned runs (7) in the championship game than in the other four outings combined (5).

“We were so excited after winning the first game,” Stanley said. “Baylor was different because they were more ready to play in the second game. We said, ‘Girls, they want to beat us. They do not want to lose because this would be four (titles) in a row for them.’ ”

The game was tied 3-3 until GPS came up with five runs on six hits to break the game open in the sixth inning. Coach Susan Crownover’s squad added four more runs in the seventh to go up 12-3 and rendered meaningless the four runs Baylor scored in its last at-bat, including Crosby Huckabay’s three-run homer.

The first three Bruisers in the lineup – Bailey Davenport, Kelby Crownover, the coach’s daughter, and Hannah Kincer – were a combined 8-for-13 with six runs scored and five RBIs.

Davenport went 3-for-5, Crownover 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Kincer 2-for-4 with three runs batted in.

“Gosh,” Davenport said, “this is best feeling I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve dreamed about this since my freshman year. It’s amazing.”

The most poignant storyline for the Bruisers belonged to the Crownovers.

Kelby started some games as an eighth-grader and has been a sparkplug for the team ever since.

“I can’t put into words what this really means,” Kelby said. “My mom has coached me my whole life. I won state in my eighth-grade year and to win it again my senior year with her as my coach is just amazing and feels so good.”

Susan has enjoyed her coach/mother dual roles over the years and for Kelby to end her athletic career at GPS with a second championship ring is a wonderful thing.

“It’s a great end to a great career for her,” Susan said. “She’s been such a big part of all kind of teams at GPS. Kelby has had a great time at GPS and it has been a good school for her. It has all been very special.”

While not uncommon for a mom or dad to coach their offspring, the veteran coach has lived both roles this school year.

“I do enjoy being on the field,” Susan said. “It’s one thing to watch games from behind the fence, but I have to admit watching her from the bleachers play basketball this year.”

The players and coaches got away from the softball complex between games and spent time cooling down and eating dinner before returning to finish off the Lady Red Raiders.

“The girls were really excited after the first win,” the veteran coach said. “That was big and we had to bring them back down to Earth. We talked to them about one more game. Don’t be satisfied with one win today and they talked about that all the way back over here.

“They were determined. There have been times this year when we got down we couldn’t come back. With Baylor scoring once in each of the first and second innings, that was not such a great start for us.”

The ending was pure delight.

After the final out, the Bruisers erupted into a wild celebration

A few minutes later, coach Crownover and her players talked about the stunning events that transpired with media representatives.

“I’m still in shock,” Davenport said. “We gave it our all and showed guts and heart.”

(E-mail Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @larryfleming44)

 


Chattanooga Lookouts Promote Andrew Zito To Director Of Group Sales

The Chattanooga Lookouts on Monday named current Group Sales Manager Andrew Zito, its director of Group Sales.  The Florida native began his career in sports as a Food and Beverage Intern with the Lookouts in 2012 and will be entering his fourth season with the team. “Being able to work his way up from an intern to the Director of Group Sales is a testament to Andrew’s ... (click for more)

Randy Smith: Luther's Legacy

The past few days has not been good for Chattanooga's radio listeners. US-101's "Bearman" passed away last week and this morning WDEF's legendary Luther Masingill passed away at the age of 92. Two of the most successful morning men in our city's radio history both leave us within a few days of each other. Both men leave a legacy of caring and community involvement more than ... (click for more)

Woman Says Chattin Killed Deputy Donald Bond, Not Kiser

A woman testified Monday in Hamilton County Criminal Court that it was Mike Chattin - and not his roommate Marlon Duane Kiser - who killed County Deputy Donald Bond at a produce stand in East Brainerd in 2001. Kimberly Annette Bowman called Kiser, who is in the middle of an extended post-conviction hearing, "an innocent man." She said, "I've had this burden on me all these years." ... (click for more)

Legendary Radio Broadcaster Luther Dies At 92 After Record 74 Years On The Air; Funeral Will Be Thursday At 2 PM At Engel Stadium

Legendary radio broadcaster Luther Masingill died early Monday morning at Memorial Hospital surrounded by family and friends. He was 92 and had been on the air for a record 74 years. Funeral services will be held on Thursday at Historic Engel Stadium, 1130 E 3rd St., at 2 p.m. with Pastor Todd McElyea officiating.   Honorary pallbearers will be the staff at ... (click for more)

Republicans And Fox News Are Creating An Ebola Crisis

It seems that the Republicans and Fox News are at it again.  They are calling for “closing the borders” in order to protect us from the Ebola virus.   They are spreading fear and angst among the populous in order to blame the Obama administration with failing to protect the citizenry. Isn’t this the same crowd that claimed there were weapons of mass destruction in ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: UT Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet!

Just moments before Florida would seal a football 10-9 victory over Tennessee in early October, the student section in Neyland Stadium stooped to a new low when it vociferously chanted, “F*** you, Florida! F*** you, Florida!” It was shocking, a loud and vulgar display of all that sportsmanship isn’t, and served as a great embarrassment to Knoxville and the university. Jimmy Cheek, ... (click for more)