The GPS softball team had their hitting shoes on for Tuesday’s non-district game with Chattanooga Christian.
Collecting a season-high 19 hits where everyone in the GPS lineup had at least one hit, the Bruisers scored at least one run in every inning to prevail by a not-so-close 12-2 final at T.A. Lupton Field.
The game ended with nobody out in the bottom of the sixth after GPS added its final four runs, the last two on a sharp single to right by Brynley Oliver.
Things didn’t start out so great for the Bruisers after starting shortstop Kaitlyn Songer was carried off the field before the first pitch was made in the first inning. Fielding the usual ground balls at the start, Songer somehow dislocated her kneecap before being replaced at short by Abbie Reel. She’s had knee surgery before, so Thursday’s incident wasn’t the first time that’s happened, but her teammates did a nice job of picking her up.
Reel shifted from right field to shortstop and freshman Madi Grace Hubbard was put in right. Hubbard made the most of her opportunity as she had two hits, scored two runs and had the defensive play of the game after making a diving catch of a liner headed toward the corner to end the CCS sixth.
The Bruisers had lost at Walker Valley on Monday and coach Susan Crownover had a serious chat when them afterward. Apparently, Crownover’s words of encouragement were taken to heart as her team scored early and often.
“We had a good day at the plate and didn’t leave many runners out there, but I’m really proud of how these girls responded following yesterday’s loss at Walker Valley,” Crownover said after her team had improved to 18-6 with the victory.
“Hannah Sanders pitched another strong game for us. Chattanooga Christian is an outstanding team and it’s always nice to win against them. I’m really happy with how Madi Grace Hubbard responded as she had a couple of nice plays in right and also had a couple of key hits.
“Kaitlyn was just turning to throw when she went down. I hope she’s not out long as we need her in our lineup,” Crownover concluded.
Tuesday’s win snapped a five-game CCS winning streak and left the Lady Chargers with a 15-5 overall record. Coach Lisa Gray has complete confidence that her team will bounce back in a hurry.
“I have no doubt that we’ll be back, but there are days when things just don’t go your way,” she began with a smile.
“GPS has a great team and it always makes us better to play them, but we did nothing with our bats. Madison Hollis has been a solid pitcher for us these last four years, but today just wasn’t her day. I liked our effort overall. We weren’t always consistently smart at the plate, but we’ll go back to work tomorrow and keep fighting to get better,” she added.
Sanders was the winning pitcher as she allowed two runs on five hits while striking out four and walking one. The only major mistake she made was a fat pitch to Mary Vandergriff in the fifth. Rachel Kay had led off the inning with single and both scored when Vandergriff ripped her first offering over the fence in left-center.
The Lady Chargers had two runners on in both the third and fourth innings, but both times, Sanders left them stranded with critical outs.
While every GPS starter had at least one hit, Sanders and Ansley Blevins both finished the day with three apiece.
Sanders led off the third with a solo homer while adding singles in the fourth and sixth innings. Blevins ripped a solo homer for the Bruisers in the second before driving in teammates with a single in the third and a triple in the fifth.
Ariana Whatley drove in the first run with a two-out single in the first. She later drove in another with a sacrifice fly. She also walked and scored in the sixth.
Mary Vandergriff was the only CCS player with two hits. Lauren Day, Emily Day and Rachel Kay all had one hit apiece.
While Sanders was the winning pitcher, Hollis suffered the loss after giving up all 12 runs on 19 hits. She had three strikeouts and two walks.
Tuesday's game was the third between these two teams. CCS had prevailed by an 8-7 in the season opener on March 13 before GPS won by a 7-4 final in the Runs For Rachel tournament that first weekend.
CHATTANOOGA CHRISTIAN 000 020 – 2 5 1
GIRLS PREPARATORY SCHOOL 122 124 – 12 19 1
Hollis and Blevins; Sanders and Blevins.
(email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)