It was Senior Night for the Hixson softball team on Thursday, but somebody forgot to pass message to the visiting Boyd Buchanan Lady Buccaneers.
The Lady Bucs scored at least one run in five of the seven innings, but it was a seven-run seventh that ultimately was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Hixson as Boyd Buchanan improved to 11-4 with the 16-8 victory.
This wasn’t the cleanest game played this spring as the two teams combined for 11 errors, but when push came to shove the youthful Lady Bucs showed they can hit with power as six of their 13 hits were for extra bases, including a trio of home runs.
It was a game of missed opportunities for the Lady Wildcats as they stranded 14 runners for the game, including the bases loaded in the first, fourth and fifth innings.
Presley Williamson, an 18-year-old senior who has already committed to play at UTC next year, had the hottest bat as she collected four hits, homered twice and drove in five runs.
“I was just looking to have some fun. It was back and forth all day and we made quite a few mistakes, but were able to pull it out,” she said after her second multi-home run game of the spring.
Boyd Buchanan coach Jeff Stone knows that his team can and normally does play more solid defense, but he was just proud of how his team kept battling, even when they were behind.
“We’re young and our youthfulness showed at times, but Hixson has improved a lot and they gave us all we could handle,” Stone said following the game.
“This was a real character-builder for our team. We had some adversity with our defense, but we were able to overcome that. Those seven runs in the seventh were obviously big, but we’re starting to believe and we can be pretty good with two outs.
“We live for those moments when you get a chance to drive in some runs, but we just kept battling and that’s what I’m most proud of,” Stone added.
Hixson coach Ashley Harper knows that softball is all about the process and working to get better with each passing day. Despite the loss, she was still upbeat concerning her team.
“What a heartbreaker,” she began after the game ended.
“They had a bad inning and we took advantage. Then we had a bad inning and they took advantage. A win would have been nice on Senior Night, but there’s a lot more to this game than what the scoreboard says,” she said.
The Lady Bucs took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first before Hixson matched that total in its first at-bat.
Boyd Buchanan made three errors in the second inning that allowed Hixson to take a 5-3 lead before the Lady Bucs regained the upper hand with a three spot in the fourth, highlighted by Williamson’s two-run homer over the fence in dead center.
A single run in the fifth allowed the Lady Bucs to extend their lead to 8-5, but Hixson refused to be denied and knotted the score with three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Williamson doubled with one out in the sixth and eventually scored on a wild pitch to put the Lady Bucs up 9-8 and it was still anybody’s game at that point.
But that’s when the Lady Bucs blew it open with that seven-run uprising in the seventh, four of those runs scoring with two outs.
Williamson slugged her second two-run homer with a shot that cleared the scoreboard in left and landed in the outfield grass of the Hixson baseball field while Kiley Elliott also had a two-run homer in that inning.
Brooke Watson was the winning pitcher after going the distance, allowing all eight runs on six hits while walking nine and striking out eight.
Jenna Griswold, who came on in relief of starter Zoie Sullivan in the fifth, was tagged with the loss after allowing nine runs on eight hits while walking one, striking out one and hitting one.
The top of Boyd’s lineup did most of the damage as Williamson had four hits, Isabella Messer two and Gracie Petty one. Petty and Messer both scored three times while Williamson crossed the plate four times.
Elliott finished the game with three hits, two RBIs and two runs scored while Trinity Norton also had two hits for the winners.
Leadoff hitter Ari Neal was one of the stars for Hixson as she walked twice, tripled twice and scored three runs. Freshman catcher Meagan Kernea also had a good game with two hits and four RBIs, including a three-run homer that tied the game in the first inning.
Boyd Buchanan had been scheduled to host Red Bank on Friday, but the Lady Lions called and backed out. The Lady Bucs will host Marion County instead. Hixson will also be in action on Friday with a road trip to Grundy County.
The Lady Bucs improve to 11-4 with the win while Hixson is now 7-6.
BOYD BUCHANAN 300 411 7 – 16 13 7
HIXSON 320 030 0 – 8 6 4
Watson and Williamson; Sullivan, Griswold (5) and Kernea.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)