Baylor joined GPS as the first two teams to qualify for next week’s state softball tournament in Murfreesboro and both did so in impressive fashion over less-than-quality opponents.
While the Bruisers run-ruled Lipscomb Academy twice on Tuesday, four-time defending D-II-AA state champion Baylor spanked outmatched St. Cecelia Academy with a pair of perfect games.
Macy Ann McKnight had the honor in the first game, a three-inning game that Baylor won with ease, 16-0. She struck out seven of the nine hitters she faced.
Freshman Syd Berzon was the pitcher of record in the second game, a 12-0 romp by the Lady Red Raiders. She had 10 strikeouts in her four innings of work.
The Scarabs didn’t have a pitcher who could consistently throw the ball over the plate, much less for strikes. Baylor benefitted from a dozen walks in the first game while receiving eight free passes in the second.
Baylor coach Kelli Smith knows that a good, hard practice would have been much more beneficial for her team than the two games they played, but the Lady Red Raiders are now 39-3 for the season and ready for next week’s Final Four competition.
“This last game sealed the deal and made it official that we qualified again, but now we have to get back to work. The state tournament is always a big challenge and we have to be super focused,” she said by phone following the second game.
Baylor sent 19 hitters to the plate in the first inning of the first game where they scored 13 runs.
Berzon had a two-run single, Raven Jones had a two-run double and Mikayla Packer ripped a three-run homer for Baylor’s highlights.
Smith inserted subs in at every position except third base and pitcher at the end of the first inning, doing her best to slow the offensive attack.
“We approached the day with individual challenges, knowing we’d be facing a situation like this, but we didn’t have many chances with the bats. There are times when it’s hard to know what to do, but we just want to win two games today and move on,” she said following the first game.
“Macy Ann has thrown well all year and we can normally count on her to produce a lot of ground balls. Today she had seven strikeouts,” Smith added.
McKnight, who along with Berzon had two-run homers in the second inning of the second game, now has two perfect games for the season.
“That was exciting as I think I did pretty well,” the 17-year-old McKnight said after that first game.
“I was more focused than normal, but we’re one step closer to the state tournament and that’s our main goal for today,” she added.
While Baylor had five hits in the first game, they followed that up with six in the second.
Berzon and McKnight both had home runs while Packer and Abby McNamara also contributed in a big way.
Packer had a triple and a walk in the second game while stealing two bases and scoring twice. McNamara had an RBI-double in the first inning of the second game after reaching on an error and getting hit by a pitch in the first.
FIRST GAME SUMMARY
ST. CECELIA 000 – 0 0 2
BAYLOR (13)3x – 16 5 0
Ridley-Williams, Kosinski (2) and Donnelly; McKnight and Piskos, May (2).
SECOND GAME SUMMARY
ST. CECELIA 000 0 – 0 0 1
BAYLOR 651 x – 12 6 0
Kosinski and Donnelly; Berzon and Piskos, May (2).
(email John Hunt at email@example.com)