Long, Davis com­bine for shutout to lift Sono­rav­ille to 9-0

Calhoun Times - - SPORTS WEDNESDAY - By Alex Far­rer

Sono­rav­ille start­ing pitcher Tay­lor Long took a hard line drive right back off her that re­sulted in a hit by the lead­off bat­ter in the first in­ning on Thurs­day against North Mur­ray. That might’ve rat­tled some pitch­ers. But all the fresh­man Long did was not al­low an­other hit the rest of her time in the circle against the Lady Moun­taineers.

Be­hind a dom­i­nant out­ing by Long and two strong re­lief in­nings by se­nior Kris­ten Davis, the Lady Phoenix con­tin­ued their early-sea­son roll with a 1-0 home vic­tory over North Mur­ray to re­main per­fect over­all and in re­gion play. The Lady Phoenix (9-0, 7-0 in 6-AAA) got a run in the bot­tom of the first in­ning, and that’s all they needed to sup­port the shut­down pitch­ing tan­dem of Long and Davis.

Sono­rav­ille coach Chad Hayes said he feels re­ally good with ei­ther one of his two ace pitch­ers on the mound and both are ca­pa­ble of shut­ting down op­pos­ing of­fenses.

“We have a ton of con­fi­dence in Tay­lor,” said Hayes. “We were hop­ing to get her some var­sity in­nings, and we thought to­day against a good team in North Mur­ray would be a good time to do that. She was hit­ting her spots and get­ting ahead early. She is re­ally ma­ture be­yond what most fresh­men are. She showed that in the first in­ning when she took a line drive right back at her from the lead­off hit­ter that re­sulted in a hit, and she just went right back to work, put it be­hind her and had suc­cess from that point on.

“And then with Kris­ten, noth­ing phases her. She’s com­fort­able start­ing, com­ing in re­lief in the mid­dle of the game or clos­ing games out. To have Tay­lor give us a start like that and have a se­nior like Kris­ten come in be­hind her and shut them down makes me feel very good about our chances as a team.”

Long fin­ished go­ing five in­nings of one-hit ball and strik­ing out nine while only walk­ing one. Davis pitched the fi­nal two frames and al­lowed two hits while strik­ing out four.

After North Mur­ray lead­off hit­ter Talli Burgess reached on the line drive that de­flected off Long in the first, the Lady Phoenix even­tu­ally erased the po­ten­tial scor­ing on a ground ball to short­stop that Kar­ley Thomas fired home to catcher San­dra Beth Pritch­ett who tagged out Burgess.

Sono­rav­ille then turned around in the bot­tom half of the in­ning and jumped ahead when Thomas raced around the bases to score on an RBI­dou­ble by Davis fol­low­ing Thomas reach­ing on a lead­off walk. De­spite a few other scor­ing chances not com­ing to fruition, Long and Davis made the one run stand up as that was all the sup­port they needed for the shutout win.

“You ob­vi­ously want to score early and get ahead to get the mo­men­tum on your side,” said Hayes. “We would def­i­nitely like to score more of­ten. As good as well feel about any lead with Tay­lor and Kris­ten pitch­ing, we would like to be able to give them a lit­tle more cush­ion to work with on the score­board. Even­tu­ally, I think we will get the bats go­ing. We’ve just got to go back to work and fig­ure some things out.”

Along with Davis’ dou­ble, Sono­rav­ille’s Shayna Dut­ton also had a dou­ble. Grif­fin Holden was the only other Lady Phoenix bat­ter to record a hit as Burgess was pretty solid in the circle for North Mur­ray as well. Thomas and Pay­ton Townsend each drew walks.

Burgess took the tough-luck loss for the Lady Moun­taineers (7-5, 3-4 in 6-AAA) after pitch­ing six in­nings and al­low­ing one run on just three hits while strik­ing out eight. She added two hits at the plate.

Hayes said the 9-0 start is great, but his team is just fo­cus­ing on go­ing 1-0 every day.

“We go by mantra of tak­ing care of the game to­day,” said Hayes. “We don’t worry about the game to­mor­row or yes­ter­day, we just worry about try­ing to win the one to­day. This is a great start to get to 9-0…the best start we’ve ever had as a pro­gram, but we can’t fo­cus on that. We’ve got to work hard and try to win the next one.”

The Lady Phoenix were on the road on Tues­day at Ring­gold. (For de­tails on that game, see Satur­day’s Cal­houn Times.) They visit ri­val Cal­houn on Thurs­day at 6:30 p.m. in a big re­gion matchup.

LARRY GREE­SON / For the Cal­houn Times

Sono­rav­ille’s Tay­lor Long de­liv­ers a pitch to the plate dur­ing the third in­ning on Thurs­day against North Mur­ray.

LARRY GREE­SON / For the Cal­houn Times

Sono­rav­ille catcher San­dra Beth Pritch­ett (right) tags out North Mur­ray’s Talli Burgess at the plate dur­ing the first in­ning.

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