MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Sale Creek shrugged off softball doldrums just in time for sophomore Allison Smith’s grand slam to cap a five-run seventh inning and lead the lead the Lady Panthers to a harrowing 7-6 victory in the Class A state softball tournament Tuesday at the Starplex complex.
“It was a strange game,” Sale Creek’s veteran coach Clifford Kirk said. “We made errors we don’t normally make, we weren’t hitting the ball much at all and the umpires were pretty bad, but they were bad both ways.”
Sale Creek (30-8) advanced to the second round and will play Summertown (35-5), which clobbered Unaka, 13-0, on Wednesday at 4 p.m. CDT. Summertown beat Sale Creek for the 2018 state title.
Gibson County (23-1) fell into the loser’s bracket.
Macie Stanfield led off the Lady Panthers’ seventh inning with a double and Shelby Sullivan followed with a single. Hannah Hall walked to load the bases. On a 1-1 pitch, Smith belted her walk-off grand slam.
“We still had some outs but just didn’t need them,” Kirk said. “We had to make a comeback today and maybe this will get us kick-started in the right direction.
Junior Madison Stott, the starting pitcher, went 2 for 4 and drove in two runs for Sale Creek. Stanfield had three hits in four at-bats and pitched the seventh for the win. Smith was 2 for 4.
Hall drove in a run with a first-inning single, giving the Lady Panthers a 1-0 lead they surrendered when Gibson County put up three runs in the second inning.
Stott’s single pushed across another run in the fourth and she drove in another run with a double in the sixth.
Gibson County 030 020 1 – 6 9 0
Sale Creek 100 101 4 – 7 13 3
Garner and Neal; Stott, Stanfield (7) and Baskette-Skiles
(Contact Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @larryfleming44)