Sono­rav­ille of­fense leads way to sweep, State Tour­ney berth

Calhoun Times - - SPORTS SATURDAY - By Alex Far­rer

The Sono­rav­ille of­fense fin­ished off Game 1 of their Re­gion 6-AAA Play­off firstround dou­ble­header with a flurry and then came out of the gates in Game 2 with a huge early-in­ning state­ment. The re­sult was a sweep of North Mur­ray and the Lady Phoenix clinch­ing their fifth straight State Tour­na­ment berth.

Sono­rav­ille (16-11) won the first game on Tues­day af­ter­noon, 8-1, af­ter adding five in­sur­ance runs in the sixth, and they scored 14 runs over the first three in­nings in Game 2 to coast to a 14-6 vic­tory and end the Lady Moun­taineers’ sea­son. The Lady Phoenix, the top seed from 6-AAA South, now move ahead to the sec­ond round where they will host ri­val Cal­houn on Satur­day for a dou­ble­header start­ing at 10 a.m. If a Game 3 is nec­es­sary, it will be played Mon­day.

As far as Tues­day’s of­fen­sive ex­plo­sion was con­cerned, Sono­rav­ille coach Chad Hayes said he re­ally happy with the way his team swung the bats, es­pe­cially com­ing off al­most a week lay­off since their last reg­u­lar-sea­son game.

“Of­fen­sively, I’m very pleased with what we did at the plate to­day,” said Hayes. “We haven’t played in al­most a week so you re­ally don’t know what to ex­pect, com­ing off a lit­tle lay­off like that. But we did a lit­tle in­trasquad scrim­mage yes­ter­day at prac­tice, and I think that helped. I know that if we can hit off our own pitch­ers, who are some of the best around, I know we can hit any­body. That seemed to trans­fer over to to­day. When you get the kind of of­fen­sive out­put we did to­day, it makes things eas­ier for our pitch­ing and de­fense to re­lax and play well. I was pleased with our of­fense, but I’m pleased with ev­ery­thing to­day. I think we played two very good games al­to­gether.”

Game 1 started out as a pitcher’s duel as both Sono­rav­ille’s Kris­ten Davis and Talli Burgess made it dif­fi­cult for the op­pos­ing of­fense even when run­ners reached base as they worked out of mul­ti­ple jams. North Mur­ray (12-15) got on the board first in the top of the sec­ond as a throw got away on a stolen base at­tempt and al­lowed Ta­tum Brown to come home to make it 1-0.

Davis stopped the threat with­out any fur­ther dam­age, and her of­fense quickly re­sponded with a run in the bot­tom of the in­ning to tie the game 1-1 on an RBI-dou­ble by Kar­ley Thomas. Sono­rav­ille took the lead for good in the fourth on back-to-back RBI sin­gles by San­dra Beth Pritch­ett and Grif­fin Holden, and then they added five in the sixth to put the game away on a string of sev­eral con­sec­u­tive hits. The big blows in the in­ning came on a two-RBI sin­gle by Holden and an RBI-dou­ble from Pay­ton Townsend.

Pritch­ett fin­ished Game 1 with a 3-for-4 ef­fort and two RBIs, and five other Lady Phoenix had two hits, in­clud­ing Har­leigh Chas­tain (dou­ble, stolen base, two runs scored), Holden ( three RBIs), Townsend (dou­ble, RBI), Thomas ( dou­ble, RBI) and Mol­lie Locke ( two runs scored).

Davis was locked in to earn the com­plete-game win in the cir­cle as she went seven in­nings and gave up one run (un­earned) on five hits while strik­ing out 11.

Au­gust Miles had two hits for North Mur­ray in the Game 1 loss, and Brown and Jodi Evans each added a dou­ble. Hayes said Davis con­tin­ued the same pat­tern of what she’s done all sea­son in the cir­cle.

“Any­time she goes out there, the other team is fight­ing an up­hill climb,” said Hayes. “She re­ally put them at a dis­ad­van­tage early, and they didn’t get much off her. She will scat­ter a few hits, but just like to­day showed, it is hard for teams to string it to­gether against her. She gives us a great chance of win­ning ev­ery time she’s pitch­ing.”

The Sono­rav­ille of­fense had no plans of wait­ing around un­til late in the game to take con­trol of Game 2 as they im­me­di­ately got on the board with a crooked num­ber thanks to six runs in the first. They then added two more in the sec­ond and once again scored six in the third to go ahead 14-0.

North Mur­ray scored four runs in the fourth and two in the fifth, but by then the game was out of reach and Sono­rav­ille had en­tered many of their younger play­ers to get some valu­able post­sea­son ex­pe­ri­ence.

Sono­rav­ille got con­tri­bu­tions up and down the lineup in the Game 2 win led by a 3-for-3, two-RBI ef­fort from Townsend and a 2-for4, two-dou­ble, four-RBI game from Alyssa Hughes. Also con­tribut­ing were Holden with a dou­ble, an RBI and three runs scored, Shayna Dut­ton with a hit and two RBIs, Pritch­ett and Thomas with a hit and an RBI apiece and Davis and Har­leigh Chas­tain with a hit and two runs scored apiece.

Hughes earned the win by pitch­ing three in­nings and giv­ing up two runs on six hits while strik­ing out two. She pitched the first two in­nings and then came back in to fin­ish the game off in the fifth. Sarah-Anne Arthur also pitched in re­lief and went two in­nings, giv­ing up four runs on five hits while strik­ing out one. Arthur was one of sever- al younger play­ers that got a chance to en­ter the game late.

“You never know what’s go­ing to down the line as far as some­one get­ting hurt or hav­ing to miss a game and hav­ing play­ers that can step right in and fill the gap is big,” said Hayes. “I feel like we have a lot of tal­ented girls that could do that, and it was nice to get them in the game tonight, get them some play­off ex­pe­ri­ence and hope­fully give them some con­fi­dence.”

The Lady Phoenix will now fo­cus on their sec­ond-round matchup against Cal­houn, who they split with in the reg­u­lar sea­son. Hayes said that while it is nice to have the State berth al­ready clinched for a fifth straight sea­son, his team has big­ger goals in mind.

“It’s nice that we’ve got­ten to a point in our pro­gram where we feel good about mak­ing it to State ev­ery year,” said Hayes.

“That has be­come our ex­pec­ta­tion, and we came out and took care of busi­ness to­day to make that hap­pen. But we have some other goals that we want to ac­com­plish, in­clud­ing play­ing for a re­gion ti­tle. We want to stay ag­gres­sive and not be sat­is­fied. We want to win a re­gion ti­tle.”

LARRY GREE­SON / For the Cal­houn Times

Sono­rav­ille’s Kris­ten Davis de­liv­ers a pitch to the plate dur­ing Game 1 on Tues­day.

LARRY GREE­SON / For the Cal­houn Times

Sono­rav­ille’s Grif­fin Holden con­nects for an RBI-dou­ble in the first in­ning of Game 2. Holden had four RBIs in the series.

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